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Cancers We Treat

Throat and Pharynx Cancer

Learn more about types of throat and pharynx and treatment options at Baptist Cancer Center.

Thoat and Pharynx Cancer Explained

Throat cancer starts in the pharynx or larynx, which is part of the body’s respiratory and digestive systems. The pharynx is located behind the nasal cavity and mouth. It is the gatekeeper that allows food and liquids into the esophagus and conducts air to the trachea and lungs. The larynx (voice box) starts in the lower throat and contains the vocal cords, helps with speech and keeps fluids or food from entering the windpipe. Throat cancer may also include the tonsils.

According to the American Cancer Society, new cases of larynx cancer are decreasing by 2% to 3% each year — most likely due to fewer people smoking tobacco.

Throat and Pharynx Cancer Treatment Options

Baptist Cancer Center puts the needs of patients first. To provide you with the best possible care, we offer support services through nurse navigators who will help you understand your pharynx or larynx cancer diagnosis and leading-edge treatment options. Your dedicated nurse navigator will help you schedule follow-up appointments, manage prescriptions, understand your insurance and what it covers and review financial plans so you can focus on your recovery. Our team of medical doctors and specialists is dedicated to designing an individualized treatment plan to help you fight your cancer diagnosis on your own terms and close to home.

Throat and Pharynx Cancer Types

Pharynx Cancer

Pharynx cancer (pharyngeal cancer) includes the upper (nasopharynx), middle (oropharynx) and lower (hypopharynx) sections of the pharynx. The nasopharynx is behind the nasal passage. The oropharynx (oropharyngeal) is behind the mouth, and includes the base of the tongue, tonsils and soft palate. The hypopharynx (hypopharyngeal) is behind the voice box, or larynx.

Larynx Cancer

Larynx cancer (laryngeal cancer) includes the supraglottis, glottis and subglottis. Types of pharynx and larynx cancer include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Minor salivary gland cancer
  • Sarcoma
  • Melanoma

Learn the Symptoms Causes

Recognizing the signs of throat and pharynx cancer allows for timely intervention, potentially increasing the chances of successful treatment and improving your quality of life.

What are the causes and risk factors of throat and pharynx cancer?

Like other head and neck cancers, the direct causes are mostly unknown. However, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, chewing tobacco or other herbal stimulants, such as betel quid or gutka, acquired DNA mutations from chemical exposure, and some forms of HPV (human papillomavirus) have all been linked to throat cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of throat and pharynx cancer?

Signs and symptoms of throat cancer may depend on the cancer location, but can include

  • Sore throat
  • Ear or neck pain
  • Voice changes or hoarseness
  • Lump or swelling in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss

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Connect With a Patient Navigator

As a patient at Baptist Cancer Center, you will have access to a dedicated patient navigator who will act as your advocate and liaison between you and your health care teams. Our patient navigators are available at every step to schedule appointments, answer questions, explain the treatment process, and provide resources, education and support when you and your family need it.