ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Everything About Throat Cancer – Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

Everything About Throat Cancer – Symptoms, Types and Treatment


Throat cancer is a broad term that refers to all types of cancer occurring in the throat or pharynx, voice box or larynx, and the tonsils. In medical terminology, the throat begins at the very back of the nose and ends at the neck. Since the voice box is so near it is also regarded as a part of throat cancer.


Throat cancer may also affect the epiglottis, the flap of tissue sitting atop the larynx and functions to prevent food and liquids from entering the trachea. Throat cancer also affects the tonsils.


Symptoms of Throat Cancer


  • Coarse coughing
  • Hoarseness in voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dull, consistent pain in the ear
  • Lump or sore that doesn’t go away or heal
  • Weight loss

Weight loss is caused by difficulty swallowing. Since most patients lose their appetite when swallowing becomes painful, it is only natural for them to start dropping weight.


Since many of these symptoms are also common in other diseases, they may not be an immediate sign of cancer. However, it is important to get a diagnosis to be sure and to achieve early detection, the important element for successful treatment.


Types of Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is a very broad term and there are many affected parts of the throat when cancer begins to grow. The cancer cells that accumulate are relatively of the same type which is why the different types of cancer are categorized according to the location they originated:


  • Nasopharyngeal cancer – this is cancer that begins at the very back of the nose and beginning of the throat, the nasopharynx.
  • Oropharyngeal cancer – this cancer originates behind the mouth and is also where the tonsils are located in.
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer – this affects the hypopharynx, which is the area of the throat above the windpipe and esophagus.
  • Glottis cancer – cancer of the vocal chords.
  • Supraglottic cancer – this type of cancer affects the upper areas of the larynx and this includes the epiglottis.
  • Subglottic cancer – affects the lower portion of the voice box, right below the vocal chords.


Risk Factors of Throat Cancer

Tobacco use, alcohol use, HPV or human papillomavirus, and a poor diet may increase the risk of developing or advancing the stages of throat cancer.


Treatment Options

Fortunately there are several options to treat throat cancer and some are taken in tandem. The main treatment options of throat cancer are:



Radiation therapy


Targeted therapy

Rehabilitation after surgery

Chemotherapy is also conducted prior to surgery to reduce the cancer cells and make the surgical area much smaller. It is done afterwards, along with targeted therapy, to prevent re-occurrence of the cancer.


Rehabilitation deals with recovery after the surgery and ensures that the patient may return to a normal lifestyle if possible. It also helps patients with permanent damage such as the loss of their voice box or when surgery is no longer possible.


For details of the related ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT specialist.




HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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