Cancer of the Throat and Larynx
Alternate Names : Laryngeal Cancer
Cancer in the throat occurs in the passages from the neck to the rest of the body. This includes the voice box, or larynx, and the areas behind the oral cavity, known as the pharynx.
What is going on in the body?
The throat is exposed to every substance a person takes into the body whether by breathing, drinking, or eating. Some of these substances, especially tobacco, can cause severe damage to the cells lining the throat. Damage over time may cause cells to undergo changes that lead to cancer. The person may have more than one cancer develop at a time in this area because the damage affects the whole area.
After a cell becomes cancerous, it will begin to grow and divide uncontrollably. The cancer cells will then form a tumor. The tumor spreads by invading the tissue around it. Some of the cancer cells will enter the system that drains fluids into lymph nodes in the neck. The lymph nodes filter the blood and help fight infections. When a cancer cell enters a lymph node, it may also be filtered out, and form a new tumor in the node.
Cancerous cells from the tumor can also break off from the tumor and enter the blood stream. These cells will go to other parts of the body and develop into new tumors. The cancer will spread, or metastasize, through the body if not successfully treated. The cancer causes death from damage to vital organs.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
People who use tobacco products and also drink beverages containing alcohol are at great risk for developing these cancers as well as cancers in the mouth. Alcohol consumption tends to accelerate the damage caused by tobacco.