Throat cancer develops inside the pharynx tissues – precisely speaking the cancer in the cavernous tube in the neck that begins at the back of the nose and ends over the esophagus and windpipe. There are a number of types of throat cancers and they comprise the cancer of hypopharynx (the lower portion of the pharynx); cancer of oropharynx (the mid portion of the pharynx); and cancer of nasopharynx (the top portion of the throat at the back of the nose).
In addition, the cancer of the voice box (larynx) may also be incorporated as a form of throat cancer. In fact, majority of the throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (denoting cancers that first develop in slender, flat cells that resemble the scales of a fish). This type of cancer is also known as the pharyngeal cancer.
In some cases, even the portion of cartilage called epiglottis may be affected by cancer. The epiglottis actually works as the cover or cap for the windpipe. An additional form of throat cancer called the tonsil cancer involves the tonsils that are situated behind the throat.
It is really unfortunate that a number of initial indications of throat cancer are somewhat common and, hence, this may usually confuse one to mistake them for some different ailment or health condition. The most widespread throat cancer symptoms may include pain in the neck; a tender throat that does not get well in one or two weeks despite taking antibiotics; hoarseness that does not go away in one or two weeks; a distention in the neck, problems in swallowing anything; inexplicable cough; throwing blood in coughs; involuntary weight loss; and anomalous (shrill) sounds while breathing.
The risk factors involved with the development of throat cancer are likely to include excessive use of alcohol; smoking tobacco; drinking mate – an invigorating drink widespread in South Africa; taking a diet that does not contain sufficient vegetables and fruits; chewing tobacco with betel – something prevalent in different regions of Asia; and also HPV (human papillomavirus) infections.
The main objective of treating throat cancer is to get rid of the cancer absolutely as well as thwarting its expansion to more body parts.
Using surgery or radiation therapy alone is sufficient to eliminate the tumour when it is still small in size. However, when the tumour grows large or it has extended to the lymph nodes of the neck, physicians often give radiation therapy as well as chemotherapy with a view to protect the voice box (larynx).
However, a number of throat cancer patients may require undergoing surgery to get rid of the tumour, counting the entire or some portions of the vocal chords. In case you have undergone laryngectomy (vocal cords), speech therapy will prove to be beneficial, as it will teach you how to talk in other ways.
In addition, several patients having throat cancer may also require undergoing swallowing therapy following the treatment to assist them in adjusting to the modifications in the constitution of the throat.
In case it has been detected that you are having throat cancer, it is advisable that you keep away from starting any natural treatment till the time you have talked over with an experienced medical practitioner, who is able to recognize your medical condition, regarding the method of your medical therapy program.
Supplements and herbs
Green tea is actually an herbal infusion that is enjoyed by people in several regions of the world and is also valued for its remedial actions. Occasionally, green tea is used in the form of a complementary therapy for an assortment of diseases, counting high levels of blood cholesterol and gastrointestinal problems. In addition, green tea may also have an important role in preventing as well as treating cancer. It may perhaps act by encouraging the death of cancer cells.
Generally, green tea is consumed in the form of a beverage, but extract of green tea is also available in capsule form from many stores selling health foods. Although the effectiveness of green tea in treating cancer is yet to be established, very scant guidance is available regarding the appropriate dosage of green tea for this condition. Nevertheless, the usual remedial dose of green tea is taking one cup (250 ml) thrice every day. You may consult your physician for further information regarding the most appropriate dose of green tea for your condition.
Slippery elm is another herb that is beneficial for people having throat cancer. Take the powdered form of this herb along with filtered water to calm your throat and provide relief from irritation. This herb works by coating the throat, which helps to alleviate the inflammation caused by throat cancer.
Commonly used essential oils for throat cancer:
Additional things you may do
Besides taking conventional medications, undergoing radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and using herbs, people may do a few more things to avoid development of throat cancer, facilitate the treatment and also diminish the side effects of the other therapies.
For instance, it has been established that smoking tobacco and throat cancers are very closely related. However, not all people having throat cancer smoke tobacco. But then, if you do smoke, it is high time you quit the habit and there are several reasons to do so. Smoking not only dulls the effect of the treatment, but also makes healing more difficult following a surgery. In addition, smoking also augments the chances of developing one more cancer in times to come.
While it is very difficult to quit smoking, it is more problematic trying to deal with a traumatic situation like diagnosing cancer. Usually, your physician will talk over all the options before you, counting the medicines, available nicotine replacement products as well as counseling.
It is worth mentioning here that consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially when taken in combination with chewing tobacco or smoking, augments the risk of developing throat cancer considerably. Therefore, if you drink alcohol, you should stop it immediately, as this is likely to help in diminishing the chances of developing a second cancer. When you quit drinking, it is also likely to help you endure the treatments for throat cancer in a better way.
Several people look for a combination of treatments that may include a prescribed diet, recreation, taking dietary as well as supplements and, most importantly, using the conventional medications. Irrespective of the approach you opt for, all the time it is vital to advance your treatment armed with facts, support and an optimistic outlook. Support or sustenance is important especially when you undertake cancer treatment and there are several groups committed to cancer education as well as support.
Dietary assistance is vital while you are undergoing cancer treatment for your general health. Taking an organic diet that is rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, dark colored raw foods like berries, beets and deep green vegetables facilitate in providing your body with the required nutrients during this period. In addition, you need to talk to a qualified dietician or healthcare professional for a specific diet with a view to deal with the specific problems that you are enduring.
People suffering from throat cancer will also benefit by taking dietary supplements comprising herbal products, vitamins as well as minerals, as they will help in fortifying the immune system, while lessening the side effects of the treatment. As specific herbs and dietary supplements have the potential to alter the effects of the conventional therapies, you should essentially consult a physician prior to using them.
Cancer patients may also find acupuncture beneficial, as it may possibly help them in restricting the pain associated with cancer as well as alleviate vomiting and nausea attributable to chemotherapy. It may be noted that acupuncture is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine and entails inserting extremely fine needles into particular points in the body, which are called acupuncture points. Acupuncture has the aptitude to invigorate the nerves located in the muscles as well as the skin, thereby, assisting the body to discharge its own innate painkillers. Usually, cancer patients require about five to eight acupuncture treatment sessions.
In addition, there are some throat cancer patients who find massage helpful for their condition. The primary reason why people suffering from cancer may prefer massage therapy is owing to the fact that it improves one’s general health. Massage therapy may prove to be effective in enhancing the quality of sleep, alleviate pain as well as lessen uneasiness. However, not all cancer patients can avail massage therapy, especially those who are undergoing active cancer therapy. Here is a word of caution: cancer patients should take care to ensure that they do not receive deep tissue massage.
Other beneficial herbs