Can you die of throat cancer? (2023)

Palliative care for throat cancer

What is it like to die of cancer?

You can hear your doctor calling your treatment.palliative care'. Not just for people nearing the end of their lives, this treatment is designed to treat symptoms rather than cure them. The aim is to improve the quality of your life and that of your family, friends and caregivers.

You may receive palliative care at the same time as your cancer treatment. The Cancer Council BrochureLiving with advanced cancerit might be helpful to read.

What are the risk factors and symptoms

The most importantRisk factors for throat cancerconsume tobacco and alcohol. Certain types of throat cancer have different risk factors. For example, HPV is a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer. Thethroat cancer symptomsvary depending on the location of the disease, says Dr. Wooten. The most common symptoms include:

  • Sore throat that won't go away
  • Tender lumps or masses in the mouth, throat, or neck
  • unintentional weight loss

Marijuana smoking and head and neck cancer

The first major study was done at UCLA about 20 years ago. We use quotation marks because none of the research on this topic included a large number of cases, this one analyzed 173 patients with head or neck cancer.

After the data were filtered to eliminate the effects of smoking and alcohol consumption, the researchers said there was a significant association between marijuana smoking and head or neck cancer. Patients who smoked marijuana more frequently and/or for a longer period had a higher risk of developing cancer of the larynx, larynx, or mouth.

The details were troubling. Overall, marijuana smokers were 2.6 times more likely to develop either cancer, and nearly five times more likely if they smoked more than once a day. And patients with a specific genetic predisposition to cancer were 77 times more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than patients without that genetic marker. Smoking cigarettes at the same time further increased these risks.

The UCLA results spurred several other studies, which unfortunately have led to confusion on the subject.

All concluded that there is not enough evidence to definitively link head and neck cancer to cannabis use and that more research is needed to rule out or rule out the possibility. However, all these studies also looked at a very small group of patients, between 75 and 400. This is an extremely small group to base firm conclusions on.

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Hpv and throat cancer risk

To dieThe Human PapillomavirusThe same virus that causes cervical cancer causes 70% of oropharyngeal cancers.

Although exposure to HPV is primarily throughoral sex, normally disappears from the body. However, in some people, persistent oral HPV damages cells and leads to oropharyngeal cancer. It can take months for symptoms to develop.

How is throat cancer diagnosed and treated?

Can you die of throat cancer? (1)

doctors are allowedDiagnosing throat cancerthrough a physical examination and medical history, imaging tests, and a biopsy. Depending on the type of cancer, other tests may also be needed.

To dieThroat cancer treatment decisionit's based on a number of things, including the location of the cancer, the stage at the time of diagnosis, and the voice and swallowing function the patient currently has, says Dr. Wooten.

For some early throat cancers, surgery or radiation therapy can be equally effective. However, later in the disease, surgery and other treatments such as radiation and/or chemotherapy may be needed. Some tonsil or tongue cancers can be treated surgically, she says. Patients may qualify for minimally invasive surgeries that improve overall function and speed recovery. Chemotherapy and radiation are commonly used for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer, but surgery is also an option in selected patients.

Why Roswell Park for Throat Cancer?

(Video) Throat Cancer - Know Your Throat | Cancer Research UK

Find out what makes Roswell Park unique in the diagnosis and treatment of throat and other head and neck cancers.

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Physical changes after surgery

Depending on the type and extent of throat cancer, a person may need extensive surgery on the throat, tongue, jaw, and other structures. Reconstructive surgery can restore the appearance and function of these structures, but there is a risk of complications.

People undergoing surgeries that alter the structure of the mouth and throatallowed forneed rehabilitation to help them speak and swallow. A cancer care team may include speech therapists, who work with a person to help improve or restore skills that surgery may have impaired.

Doctors will work with an individual to determine the correct surgical option and what to expect after surgery.

When to talk to your GP

You should speak to your GP if you have any of the main symptoms for more than 3 weeks.

These symptoms are usually caused by less serious medical conditions, such asLaryngitis, but it's a good idea to check them.

If necessary, your doctor may refer you to a specialist at the hospital for further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.

Read more aboutThroat cancer diagnosis.

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Cancer evaluation and staging

The first step in decision-making for patients with throat cancer is accurate diagnosis and staging. This requires proper tissue biopsy and histological interpretation by a pathologist. In general, these cancers are not difficult for the pathologist to diagnose, but if the clinical presentation is unusual, or if the presentation is atypical, or if the growth is very slow or very fast, a second interpretation or repeat biopsy may be necessary.

Since most treatment decisions are based on the size and extent of the cancer, direct and accurate visualization of the cancer is necessary. This usually includes an endoscope examination in the physician's office, which allows determination of vocal cord mobility and other dynamic characteristics, and direct laryngoscopy with a microscope under anesthesia. The exact size, shape, and depth of invasion can be better determined, and a search for adjacent areas of premalignant or malignant change can be assessed in other areas such as the oral cavity, pharynx, and esophagus. As the larynx is connected to the dorsum of the tongue and the inferior ducts of the tongue, these areas also need to be examined thoroughly.

Throat cancer can be cured

How I Was Diagnosed With Esophageal Cancer | Esophageal cancer symptoms

throat canceris a broad term that covers many different types of cancer that occur in different parts of the throat. These parts are the oropharynx, hypopharynx, nasopharynx, andLarynx.

These cancers can be cured, but survival rates are different for each type of throat cancer, saysKimberly Wooten, MD, head and neck plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. The type of throat cancer is important because it determines the diagnosis, staging and treatment options, says Dr. Wooten. The generic term laryngeal cancer is much more complex in terms of treatment compared to other types of cancer such as breast or colon cancer.

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Tobacco alcohol and throat cancer risk

Smoking and alcohol consumption are the main risk factors for throat cancer. When you use tobacco, you expose your mouth to carcinogens.

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If you smoke and drink, your risk of developing throat cancer is significantly higher.

Alcoholit can allow other carcinogens to enter and damage cells.

Although smoking and alcohol consumption are major risk factors for throat cancer, this type of cancer is increasingly being diagnosed in younger people who do not smoke or drink.

Does Hpv Cause Throat Cancer?

Yes, there are types of HPV that can cause oropharyngeal cancer. This type of HPV is called oropharyngeal HPV. About 1% of men and women have the HPV infection that causes throat cancer. Most adults will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lives, but some people's bodies are unable to completely rid themselves of the virus. Scientists are working to understand why some people cannot get rid of the virus, which can lead to the development of throat cancer.

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Does throat cancer develop quickly?

Laryngeal cancer is a rare form of cancer that develops in the throat, larynx, or tonsils. The most common symptoms include persistent sore throat and/or cough, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, earache and neck mass.Can develop quickly, which is why early diagnosis is essential for successful treatment.

How Throat Cancer Spreads

Can you die of throat cancer? (2)

The throat membranes are lined with flat, solid cells called squamous epithelial cells. Throat cancer can start from these surface cells.

Without treatment, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to or into deeper tissues, including muscle and bone.lymph glandsin the neck.

Some types of thyroid cancer can quickly invade adjacent structures. If left untreated, the expanding tumor can compress the windpipe and cause breathing problems.

Throat cancer can also spread to parts of the body, so it's important to diagnose and treat it early.

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throat cancer symptoms

Throat cancer can be treated if caught at an early stage, so it's important to see your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your throat or throat.

In the early stages, symptoms of throat cancer may not be noticeable.

Some throat cancer symptoms can resemble symptoms of other illnesses, so it doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer. The only way to find out is to make an appointment with your GP and have the necessary tests done to confirm the diagnosis.

Symptoms of throat cancer can include:

throat cancer
  • persistent sore throat or cough
  • sore throat or difficulty swallowing
  • dull pain around the breastbone
  • spit or cough up blood
  • Ear pain or frequent ear infections
  • stuffy nose or ear
  • Feeling like your airflow is blocked
  • swelling or lumps in the neck or throat
  • persistent sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • persistent voice changes or hoarseness

throat cancer symptoms

The main symptoms of throat cancer are:

(Video) Throat cancer - symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment explained

  • a change in your voice, eg. B. a raspy sound
  • pain when swallowing ordifficulties in swallowing
  • a lump or swelling in the neck
  • a stubbornsore throatorearache
  • in severe cases, difficulty breathing

Some people also have bad breath.shortness of breathe, a high-pitched wheezing sound when breathing, unexplained weight loss, or tiredness.

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Understanding types of throat cancer

Throat cancer is not one thing as it consists of several rare forms of cancer that affect different sections of the throat. These cancers are often grouped into a cancer category commonly referred to as head and neck cancer.

The main areas of the throat that are susceptible to cancer are the larynx, commonly known as the larynx, and the pharynx, the long tube that connects the nose and mouth to the esophagus and windpipe.

Cancers that affect the throat are named based on which part of the throat they originate. These include the nasopharynx, located in the upper part of the throat, behind the nose, the oropharynx, located in the middle part of the throat, behind the mouth, and the hypopharynx, located in the lower part of the throat. just above the larynx.

How Throat Cancer is Treated

#7Health - Understand your risk of throat cancer

Treatment for throat cancer depends on the type of cancer you have and whether it has spread to other parts of your body, such as your chest. B. your mouth or your lymph nodes. Common treatments include radiation to kill cancer cells or surgery to remove the affected area. Removal of part or all of the larynx or pharynx can affect a person's ability to speak. A person recovering from throat cancer surgery may need to learn to speak in new ways, whether with breathing techniques or voice aids.

If throat cancer has spread to other areas of the body, more extensive treatment may be needed. Your doctor may also recommend the following additional treatments to give your body the best chance of completely eliminating the cancer:

  • radiotherapy:It uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and stop new cancer cells from growing. It is highly recommended that people undergoing radiation treatment for throat cancer stop smoking prior to treatment to maximize the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
  • chemotherapy:Anticancer drugs are used to kill cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy is often recommended for advanced throat cancer and is usually prescribed in combination with radiation. Sometimes chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink the tumor in the throat.

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Why does my throat feel blocked?

The most common causes of pharyngeal globus areAnguishand gastroesophageal reflux disease, a form of acid reflux that causes stomach contents to move up the esophagus and sometimes the throat. This can lead to muscle spasms that trigger the sensation of an object being stuck in the throat.

You can die from throat cancer

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How many people survive 5 years or more after being diagnosed with throat cancer

Relative survival is an estimate of the percentage of patients expected to survive the effects of cancer. It eliminates the risk of dying from other causes. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to accurately predict what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and treatment and response to treatment can vary widely.

5 years

US 20162020, all races, both sexes

Survival for all stages

Can you die of throat cancer? (3)

There are only statistics for men. This is because very few women are diagnosed with throat cancer.

General for men with throat cancer in England:

(Video) Throat cancer - symptoms to look out for | Cancer Research UK

  • About 85 out of 100 survive cancer for 1 year or more
  • About 65 out of 100 survive cancer for 5 years or more
  • About 55 out of 100 survive cancer for 10 years or more

P. Muller und andere Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2016

These statistics refer to net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive cancer, rather than calculating the number of people who have been diagnosed with cancer and are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of the cancer patient, considering that some people would have died of other causes if they did not have cancer.

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Surgical complications and side effects resulting from the treatment of laryngeal cancer

Like any other type of operation,throat cancerSurgery also carries extensive risks, such as the possibility of blood clots, infection, anesthesia complications, and even pneumonia.

Patients who undergo a partial or total pharyngectomy often lose the ability to speak normally. Some patients require a tracheostomy after surgery, which requires them to breathe through a plastic tube and a stoma.

Some of the less aggressive surgeries can also affect patients' normal speech ability.

Surgery near the throat can result in a gradual narrowing of the throat or larynx. This process is called stenosis. If the stenosis compromises the patient's ability to breathe, a temporary or permanent tracheostomy may be required. Sometimes throat surgeries can also affect the patient's ability to swallow. This affects your long-term eating habits. Sometimes throat cancer patients need a permanent feeding tube.

Other possible surgical complications are:

  • The development of a fistula in the throat
  • Carotid artery rupture

Does throat cancer usually come back?

Whether or not laryngeal cancer returns after treatment depends greatly on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. Those diagnosed at later stages are more likely to recur. In the case of laryngeal cancer, for example, the risk of recurrence in the first three years is 5 to 12% for stage 1 and up to 30% for stage 2. In patients diagnosed with advanced stages, recurrence can reach 50% in the first five years. This means that this illness often recurs and requires constant monitoring, she says.

For this reason, throat cancer patients should seek treatment at a comprehensive cancer center such as Roswell Park. Due to the complexity of throat cancer and the variety of diagnostic and treatment options, it's important to turn to a multidisciplinary cancer center like Roswell Park that offers patients personalized treatment for their specific cancer, concludes Dr. Wooten. These options may include cutting-edge treatment to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.

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Oral cavity and throat cancer

0.7 percentevery year for the past 10 years.

Throat cancer is often grouped under the category of head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancers are cancers that start in the throat and head, but do not include cancers of the eye or eye.brain tumors.

To lower your risk of head and neck cancer:

  • Do not smoke tobacco, including cigarettes, pipes and cigars. If you smoke, start taking actionmatchand talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs and other helpful resources.
  • Do not usesmokeless tobacco productssuch as snuff and chewing tobacco.
  • Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer survival rates


Survival rates can give you an idea of ​​the percentage of people with the same type of cancer and at the same stage who are still alive at a given time after diagnosis. They cannot tell you how long you will live, but they can help you better understand how likely your treatment is to be successful.

Remember that survival rates are estimates and are usually based on past results from a large number of people who have had a specific cancer, but cannot predict what will happen in any specific case. These statistics can be confusing and leave you with more questions.Your doctoris familiar with youask the situationhow these numbers might apply to you.

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How long can you live with throat cancer? ›

Survival for all stages

around 85 out of every 100 (around 85%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more. around 65 out of every 100 (around 65%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more. around 55 out of every 100 (around 55%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more.

Is throat cancer usually fatal? ›

Throat cancers may be cured when detected early. If the cancer has not spread (metastasized) to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes in the neck, about one half of patients can be cured. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and parts of the body outside the head and neck, the cancer is not curable.

What are the final stages of throat cancer? ›

Stage 4 is the most advanced stage of throat cancer. This means the cancer has spread to nearby tissue, one or more lymph nodes on the neck, or other parts of the body beyond the throat.

Is it rare to die from throat cancer? ›

According to the NCI, cancer in the throat or mouth causes 1.8% of all cancer deaths, making it rare. In its most recent estimates, the American Cancer Society (ACS) projected about 12,620 new cases of throat cancer in 2021 and around 3,770 deaths due to the disease.

How quickly does throat cancer spread? ›

Professor Christopher Nutting explains that throat cancers will develop steadily in an individual patient once the tumour has developed. Cancers will double in size about every two to three months, which is quite quick compared to other tumour types.

Can you live 10 years with throat cancer? ›

For most head and neck cancer subtypes, one-year survival falls between 5 and 10 years after diagnosis.

What age is throat cancer common? ›

Most people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer are 55 or older; a very small number of people diagnosed are younger than 55. The average age of people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer is about 66. Black men are more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than White men and are more likely to die from it.

How painful is throat cancer? ›

A throat cancer lump can be painful all the time and also when swallowing.

Can Stage 4 throat cancer survive? ›

In later stages, in which the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes — stage 3 — the overall five-year survival is around 50%. And if it spread to distant areas of the body like lungs, liver or bone — stage 4 — this survival rate drops to roughly 30%.”

How does a person get throat cancer? ›

Causes of throat cancer

smoking tobacco. excessive alcohol consumption. human papillomavirus (HPV) epstein-barr virus (EBV)

Is Stage 4 throat cancer a terminal? ›

Is stage 4 cancer always terminal? Stage 4 cancer is not always terminal. It is usually advanced and requires more aggressive treatment. Terminal cancer refers to cancer that is not curable and eventually results in death.

Is throat cancer quick? ›

Throat cancer is a rare form of cancer that develops in the throat, larynx or tonsils. Some of its most common symptoms include a persistent sore throat and/or cough, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, ear pain and a neck mass. It can develop quickly, which is why early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

How Far Can throat cancer spread? ›

However, if multiple lymph nodes are affected, physicians will likely consider it stage 4, or metastatic throat cancer. Lungs – Throat cancer that spreads to distant sites is most commonly found in the lungs. Bones – Another distant site where throat cancer is often found is the bones.

Is Stage 1 throat cancer curable? ›

Most stage I and II laryngeal cancers can be treated successfully without removing the whole larynx. Either radiation alone or surgery with a partial laryngectomy can be used in most people.

How often is throat cancer fatal? ›

The 5-year survival rate for this cancer is 52%. If the cancer is localized in the larynx, the 5-year survival rate is 63%. If the cancer is regional, the 5-year survival rate is 35%. At its distant stage, the 5-year survival rate is 43%.

How Long Can throat cancer go untreated? ›

Approximately 50% of untreated head and neck cancer patients will die within 4 months of their diagnosis. However, the remaining patients can survive up to 4 or more years, depending on their tumour location, extent, performance status and level of supportive care.

How long can you survive untreated throat cancer? ›

Approximately 50% of untreated head and neck cancer patients will die within 4 months of their diagnosis. However, the remaining patients can survive up to 4 or more years, depending on their tumour location, extent, performance status and level of supportive care.

Can you survive stage 4 throat cancer? ›

In later stages, in which the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes — stage 3 — the overall five-year survival is around 50%. And if it spread to distant areas of the body like lungs, liver or bone — stage 4 — this survival rate drops to roughly 30%.”

What happens if throat cancer is not treated? ›

If left untreated, cancers of the throat ultimately spread throughout the lymph system in the neck. Untreated cancer that has spread to lymph nodes is responsible for cancer recurrence. Thus, identifying whether cancer is present in the lymph nodes in the neck is important for preventing recurrence.

What age usually gets throat cancer? ›

While people over the age of 55 are at highest risk for developing throat cancer, it's growing more common in younger people due to the increased prevalence of HPV. The most common treatments for throat cancers include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

How common is throat cancer by age? ›

Most people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer are 55 or older; a very small number of people diagnosed are younger than 55. The average age of people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer is about 66. Black men are more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than White men and are more likely to die from it.

Does throat cancer hurt? ›

Some common throat cancer symptoms include: A sore throat that lasts for more than two weeks. Pain or difficulty swallowing food (dysphagia). Changes in your voice, like hoarseness, that last more than two weeks.

Can you have throat cancer for years and not know it? ›

Rarely, patients may report pain in the back of the throat or difficulty swallowing. But most have no symptoms at all, and are very surprised to hear that they have throat cancer. Almost all throat cancers that doctors see at MD Anderson are squamous cell carcinomas.


1. Caring for someone with throat cancer - Jayne's story
(Macmillan Cancer Support)
2. Throat cancer survivor remained positive throughout his treatment
(MD Anderson Cancer Center)
3. How Cancer Kills You: Swamp Gas
(Prostate Cancer Foundation)
4. End of life care Chapter 4 Symptoms of approaching death
(Work Train)
5. Cancer Survivor Interview: Early Staged Larynx Cancer, treated with Radiation
(American Head and Neck Society)
6. Throat cancer can be easy to detect if you pay attention to symptoms
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