What do Ulysses S. Grant, Sammy Davis, Jr., and George Harrison have in common?
Smoking and throat cancer. Unfortunately, all three famous men, known to be heavy smokers, ultimately succumbed to the disease. Heavy smoking, along with excessive alcohol use and a diet low in fruits and vegetables, is a contributing factor of throat cancer. HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, is also a known risk factor for throat cancer.
Living a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, and consuming alcohol in moderation will not only help you prevent throat cancer but can also improve overall health. “I recommend that people think about maintaining their bodies,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta. “Just like with your car, you get the oil changed and the tires rotated. You also have to think about what goes into your body – good and bad – to stay in top condition.”
Throat Cancer Has Many Targets
Throat cancer is used to describe tumors that develop in the throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx) or tonsils; it can also affect the piece of cartilage (epiglottis) that acts as a lid for the windpipe (trachea).
There are six different types of throat cancer that denote where they begin, however most throat cancers involve the same type of cancer cells. Because the throat is a tube that encompasses body parts with different jobs, symptoms of throat cancer are varied. They include:
- Changes in your voice quality, such as hoarseness or not speaking clearly
- Difficulty swallowing
- Ear pain
- A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
- Sort throat
- Unexplained weight loss
Understanding Throat Cancer Treatments
Once diagnosed with throat cancer, doctors will typically recommend one or a combination of Standard of Care treatments, including radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. For some patients, the best course of action may be a procedure called laryngectomy, which removes all or part of the voice box. “There are options for restoring speech if the whole voice box is removed,” notes Incledon. “But, as with all surgeries, I urge patients to understand the long-term effects before they make a decision that alters their life in a big way like this.”
Another side effect of surgery on the throat to consider is the ability to swallow food and breathe normally. Some patients who choose surgical options for throat cancer treatment need a temporary or permanent tracheotomy, which is when a hole is made in the front of the neck to allow someone to breathe. The team at Causenta works to ensure our patients and their families fully understand treatment options, side effects, and long-term repercussions before we move forward with a throat cancer strategy.
For smaller throat cancers that are found early, radiation may be the only treatment necessary. This is another reminder of why Incledon reminds patients to have regular check-ups with a doctor and be aware of changes in their health. “Sometimes you may go to the doctor and you find out it’s nothing, but better to be safe and catch something early,” says Incledon.
For more information about personalized throat cancer treatment options and care at Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.