What Causes Throat Cancer Yahoo Group

What is throat cancer and what causes it?

Larynx cancer usually affects patients over the age of 65. While women fall ill on average at a somewhat younger age, men are more often affected by the disease overall. The good news: Larynx cancer can often be treated and even cured very well in its early stages.

Symptoms

A tumor on the larynx causes characteristic symptoms: In addition to persistent swallowing difficulties and hoarseness, there is often a feeling of foreign bodies or scratching in the throat. In addition, the disease can cause a sore throat that radiates to the ear and jaw region. Constant clearing of the throat and sometimes bloody cough can also occur - as well as problems with breathing. Contact your ENT doctor as soon as possible if you notice some of the symptoms described.

Larynx cancer: a risk issue

The larynx is exposed to many stresses, such as pollutants from the air we breathe and from food. The main risk factors for throat cancer are undisputed long-term smoking and regular heavy alcohol consumption.

In some cases, cancer of the larynx also occurs because of work: risk substances are asbestos, ionizing radiation and aerosols containing sulfuric acid. Inform your doctor if you have or have had regular contact with one of these substances through your job.

Lower your risk:

Become smoke-free and drink alcohol only moderately and consciously. Get help if necessary: ​​TK-Non-Smoking Coaching supports you on your way to a life without nicotine.

diagnosis

Your ENT doctor will inquire about your symptoms, previous illnesses, lifestyle and your occupation. This is followed by a series of investigations:

Indirect pharyngoscopy

Using two small mirrors or a magnifying glass laryngoscope, your doctor can see any changes in the larynx and, if necessary, initiate further examinations. The examination usually does not require anesthesia and is quite quick.

Direct pharyngoscopy

If the suspicion of cancer is confirmed in this way, a direct throatoscopy enables a more precise overview of the affected structures. While you are under anesthesia, your doctor will examine the abnormal areas of the larynx with a tube called a laryngoscope. In addition, he takes a tissue sample from the tumor and has it examined for malignant cells.

Ultrasound examination

A larynx tumor usually also affects the surrounding lymph nodes. During an ultrasound scan, your doctor will also check the lymph nodes that may be affected and can get clues as to whether the tumor is spreading.

Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging

These imaging procedures provide precise three-dimensional images of the inside of the body. A radiologist uses it to determine the exact nature of the tumor and whether there are daughter ulcers in other organs. Your individual treatment will only be planned with this information.

treatment

Larynx cancer is curable in about two out of three cases. This is because the tumor can often be completely removed through an operation and then usually does not return. Before the procedure, your surgeon will explain the chances and risks of the treatment in detail and answer your questions. Depending on your individual diagnosis, he will choose the therapy that is most beneficial for you:

Microsurgical laser treatment

Small larynx tumors in the early stages can now be removed with minimally invasive laser beams, whereby the larynx is largely preserved. This procedure is considered to be very gentle: it is carried out through the mouth.

Open larynx surgery

Large tumors can often only be removed with open surgery. It may be necessary for the surgeon to remove the larynx and parts of the throat and to create a so-called tracheostoma, which allows you to continue breathing.

If the tumor has spread to neighboring lymph nodes, these may have to be removed on one or both sides.

radiotherapy

As a rule, additional radiation treatment of the surrounding tissue makes sense after the operation: If cancer cells are still present there, they will be so badly damaged by the radiation that they can no longer multiply and die. In order to protect the healthy surrounding tissue as best as possible, your radiologist determines an individual radiation dose and uses it in a very targeted manner. In some cases, in addition to radiation, immunotherapy also makes sense: It strengthens the body's own defense system and thus lowers the risk of a relapse.

chemotherapy

If surgery is not possible, chemotherapy can slow the growth of cancer cells and thus contain the disease. Even after an operation, chemotherapy can improve the success of the treatment - occasionally in combination with radiation therapy.

Follow-up care creates security

Relapse occurs in about ten to twenty percent of all cases in the first two years after treatment. It is therefore imperative that you attend the agreed check-ups after the treatment: this is the only way to detect and treat a new tumor, metastases and possible complications at an early stage.

rehabilitation

After an extensive operation, speaking is possible without the larynx. Together with a so-called phoniatrist, you will learn various techniques after the operation:

Esophageal replacement voice

Your phoniatrist will practice the so-called esophageal replacement voice with you. It enables you to speak loudly and clearly. Be patient with yourself as this technique takes a lot of practice.

Voice prosthesis

A voice prosthesis is a valve that is surgically placed in the throat. It connects to the windpipe and thus enables voice to be formed when you close your tracheostoma at the same time.

Electronic speaking aid

This technique also works without practice and helps you temporarily in the time immediately after the operation. You put a small device on your neck: it creates a sound that is transmitted to the soft tissues of the neck and vibrates the air in the throat, mouth and nose. With tongue and lip movements, the vibrating sound of the speaking aid is then converted into speech. The voice sounds rather monotonous.

Life without a larynx

It takes patience to get used to the tracheostomy and to learn to speak without a larynx. You will receive professional support: In addition to a phoniatrist or speech therapist, a psychologist will help you master this challenging situation. You will receive individual advice and support during a rehabilitation stay and in cancer counseling centers.