Pharynx is a narrow tube that serves as a pathway for all the liquids and foods to reach to digestive system. It is a part of throat & the only medium which interlinks mouth directly to stomach. Along with this, it also plays a key role in regulating respiratory system. It allows fresh & oxygenated air to pass & accumulate into lungs. The term, pharyngeal cancer, specifies a life-threatening disease which develops when abnormal cells start to multiply and spread in throat region. It can deteriorate entire immune system of patient & may lead to death if proper measures are not taken on time. Therefore, diagnosing & treating pharyngeal cancer at the earliest is necessary to retain sound health.
Causes & Risk Factors Associated with Pharyngeal Cancer
There are no proven facts that can determine what exactly leads to pharyngeal cancer. However, the following list of factors may aggravate the development of cancerous cells in pharynx of an individual.
- Use of Tobacco – People who eat tobacco on a regular basis are at a higher risk of developing pharyngeal cancer.
- Alcohol Consumption – Heavy drinkers are prone to developing various types of cancers including pharyngeal cancer.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – Human papillomavirus is an infection which mostly occurs due to unprotected sexual intercourse. It may fuel up the possibility of cancer of pharynx.
- Improper Diet – People who do not eat right amount of nutritious food have greater chances of getting pharyngeal cancer.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – GERD is a health disorder which arises due to acidity in stomach. Chronic acidity may result in pharyngeal cancer in long run.
Signs & Symptoms of Pharyngeal Cancer
The following signs & symptoms may help in identifying the condition of pharyngeal cancer.
- Persistent Cough – A persistent cough could possibly be an indication of pharyngeal cancer. People struggling with a chronic cough condition should visit an ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) specialist promptly.
- Changes in Voice – Hoarseness or changes in voice may arise due to an underlying pharyngeal cancer. People experiencing a change in regular pattern of their voice should consult a well-trained surgeon.
- Swallowing Problems – Pharyngeal cancer may lead to swallowing problems. Patients may find it difficult to swallow food in a normal way. In such instances, patients must seek a medical opinion to figure out the precise cause.
- Lump in Throat – In majority of cases, people suffering from pharyngeal cancer experience a lump in throat that makes it difficult for them to speak properly. They should take a prompt action & meet a doctor for a thorough inspection.
- Weight Loss – A sudden and unintentional weight loss is a clear sign of cancer & requires an appropriate medical care.
Diagnosing Pharyngeal Cancer
Patients experiencing above-mentioned symptoms must take an appointment with a proficient ENT specialist for accurate diagnosis. Respective ENT specialist may order the following tests to analyze patient’s status.
- Endoscopy – An endoscopy test involves inserting a specialized medical tool called as an endoscope into patient’s throat to check internal details. Endoscope is a flexible tube-like instrument that has a camera on one end which helps the surgeon to monitor patient’s pharynx.
- Computerized Tomography Scan (CT Scan) – It is a type of imaging test used for generating pictures of patient’s entire mouth including pharynx & throat region. A CT scan is performed with the help of x-rays.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI Scan) – Unlike a CT scan, it involves strong field of magnet & radio waves to create pictures of patient’s pharynx.
Treatment Options for Pharyngeal Cancer
Depending on patient’s health reports, respective surgeons may order any one or a combination of the following treatments.
- Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy is one of the most widely used technique to kill cancerous cells. It involves highly focused beam to stop the reproduction of abnormal cells in patient’s pharynx.
- Chemotherapy – It involves anti-cancer drugs & medicines to destroy malicious cells in patient’s pharynx. In most instances, medicines are given in an intravenous manner. While in some cases, doctors may give it orally.
- Pharyngectomy – Pharyngectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing the cancerous area or entire pharynx of patients struggling with pharyngeal cancer. Respective surgeons take it out & implant it carefully after reconstruction. This procedure helps in removing abnormal tissues & can significantly help patients to speak & swallow in a normal way.
Risks & Complications Associated With Pharyngectomy Surgery
Pharyngectomy may involve the enumerated risks & complications.
- Breathing Difficulty
- Hardening of skin around neck
- Facial deformity or scarring
- Speech problems
Patients must choose a well-versed surgeon to minimize the probability of such postoperative problems.
Recovery Following Pharyngectomy Surgery
Patients may require staying in the health care center for three to five days. They may encounter uneasiness and pain in neck area for initial few days. Respective ENT specialists will monitor them and prescribe required medicines. Complete recovery may take up to a year. During this phase, patients need to eat healthy food & follow instructions of respective doctors. Attending follow-up sessions is a crucial step. It can speed up the entire healing process.
Benefits of Availing Pharyngeal Cancer Treatment with IndianMedTrip
IndianMedTrip is one of the leading cancer care facilitators in India. Healthcare experts at IndianMedTrip are closely associated with a large network of experienced oncologists & ENT specialists in India. IndianMedTrip takes care that international patients get best possible treatment of cancer in India including pharyngeal cancer treatment in top-class hospitals. Medical consultants at IndianMedTrip provide cost-effective & customized treatment packages to each & every patient. In addition to this, they also assist global patients in obtaining a medical visa as early as possible. Therefore, overseas patients can heavily count on services of IndianMedTrip for availing pharyngeal cancer treatment in India.