top of page


أ   ب   ج   د   ه   F   جي   ح    I  _cc781905-5cde-3194_Bbcf196 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ K    L_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf1958d_ccم    N  _cc781905-5cde-3194_bb3b-bb3bا   ص    Q  _cc781905-5cde-3194_bbcb193b-136 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ S   تي    U  _cc781905-5cde-3194_bbc0193b_bbcf-136 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ W    X    Y  _cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ Z

Pharyngeal cancer

Pharyngeal cancer refers to malignancies that emerge in the pharynx, a tubular structure connecting the nose and mouth to the esophagus. The pharynx is anatomically categorized into three regions: the nasopharynx (upper part), oropharynx (middle part), and hypopharynx (lower part). Cancer can arise in any of these regions, and nomenclature often reflects the specific location, with common types including nasopharyngeal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, and hypopharyngeal cancer. The primary causes of pharyngeal cancer include the use of tobacco and alcohol, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, exposure to certain occupational hazards such as wood dust and asbestos, and a family history of head and neck cancers. Recognizing these risk factors is crucial for the preventive measures and early detection, emphasizing the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and regular screening.



Pharyngeal cancer can manifest with various symptoms, and the specific symptoms experienced may depend on the location and stage of the cancer. These symptoms encompass:

  • Persistent sore throat: A prolonged sore throat that does not improve with conventional treatments or persists over an extended period.

  • Difficulty Swallowing: Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, may occur, accompanied by pain or a sensation of a lump in the throat.

  • Odynophagia (pain in swallowing)

  • Hoarseness or alterations in the voice quality

  • Ear Pain (especially in nasopharyngeal cancer cases)

  • Swelling or Lumps in the neck

  • Red or white patch on the base or posterior one-third of the tongue, posterior and lateral pharyngeal walls, soft palate, and tonsils 

  • Dysarthria (slowed or slurred speech resulting from weakness in the muscles responsible for producing speech).

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • A persistent cough that does not resolve with conventional treatment.

  • Persistent Nasal Congestion or blockage

  • Unexplained bleeding from the nose or throat.

  • Generalized fatigue and weakness.


Pharyngeal cancer
Pharyngeal cancer is a type of malignancy affecting the the pharynx, a tubular structure connecting the nose and mouth to the esophagus.


Diagnosing pharyngeal cancer involves a comprehensive approach, including a patient's medical history assessment, physical examination, and various diagnostic tests. The process aims to determine the presence of cancer, its location, size, and extent, which are crucial for developing an effective treatment plan. Here's a detailed overview of the diagnostic methods:

1. Medical History and Physical Examination: This involves the collection of information about the patient's medical history, including signs and symptoms, exposure to risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use and HPV, and family history of head and neck cancers. The physical examination checks for abnormalities, lumps, or swelling in the oral cavity, throat, and neck.

2. Barium swallow, also known as an esophagogram or upper GI series, comprises a series of X-rays capturing images of the esophagus and stomach. This diagnostic procedure involves ingesting a liquid containing barium, a silver-white metallic compound. The barium coats the esophagus and stomach, creating visible contrast on X-rays.

3. Endoscopy: It involves the insertion of a thin, illuminated tube through the mouth or nose, allowing the clinician to visually examine the interior of the body and identify any abnormal tissue. Nasopharyngoscopy or Laryngoscopy is used to visualize the pharynx, larynx, and surrounding structures.

4. Biopsy: A small piece of pharyngeal tissue is removed and examined in a lab for definitive diagnosis. Fine needle aspiration (FNA) and core biopsy may be used.

Imaging studies:

  • CT scan (Computed Tomography): CT scans offer detailed cross-sectional images of the pharynx, aiding in the visualization of the tumor's size and extent, along with the assessment of nearby structures' involvement.

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): MRI is useful for obtaining detailed images of soft tissues, facilitating the evaluation of tumor characteristics and potential spread to surrounding tissues.

  • PET-CT scan (Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography): It provides a comprehensive view and it helps to identify areas with increased metabolic activity, indicative of cancerous growth.

Laboratory testing for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) may be performed in certain cases.

Upon confirming the diagnosis, further tests, including staging procedures, are performed to assess the extent of the cancer and decide on the treatment.



Pharyngeal cancer has several treatment approaches, and the specific method employed depends on factors like the stage and location of the tumor, the presence of HPV, the patient's overall health, and individual preferences. Generally, treatment options may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Here's an overview of these treatment approaches:

1. Surgery

Various forms of pharyngeal surgery include:

  • Oropharyngectomy: Involves the removal of a portion of the oropharynx, situated behind the mouth.

  • Hypopharyngectomy: Entails the removal of part of the hypopharynx (the lower throat).

  • Laryngopharyngectomy: This entails the comprehensive removal of both the larynx and a significant portion of the pharynx.

  • Neck dissection: If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, a neck dissection may be performed to remove affected lymph nodes, which includes partial, modified, and selective neck dissection.

  • Salvage Surgery: It may be used for local residual or recurrent pharyngeal cancer.

  • Reconstruction surgery, also known as plastic surgery, aims to restore both the appearance and functionality of the affected area in an individual.


2. Radiation Therapy

The types of radiation therapy that might be used to treat pharyngeal cancer are:

  • External beam radiation therapy: This involves directing high-energy beams from outside the body to the cancer cells. It is often used in combination with surgery or as the primary treatment for certain types and stages of pharyngeal cancer.

  • Brachytherapy (internal radiation): Radioactive sources are placed directly into or near the tumor. This is less common for pharyngeal cancer but may be used in specific cases.

  • Hyperfractionated intensity-modulated proton therapy: It combines intensity-modulated proton therapy (use of protons instead of conventional X-rays) and hyperfractionation (delivering smaller radiation doses, more frequently).


3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be used in two ways:

  • Systemic chemotherapy: Drugs are administered intravenously or orally, frequently in conjunction with surgery or radiation therapy.

  • Induction chemotherapy: Administered before the primary treatment to shrink the tumor.

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat pharyngeal cancers include cisplatin, carboplatin, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), docetaxel, paclitaxel, methotrexate, and capecitabine.


4. Targeted therapy

It is to target specific molecules or pathways involved in cancer growth and progression. Cetuximab (Erbitux) is a monoclonal antibody, which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein on the surface of certain cells. It is used to treat oropharyngeal cancer.


5. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy can be used to treat oropharyngeal cancers, working to enhance a person's immune system to find and destroy cancer cells. PD-1 inhibitors utilized in the treatment of oropharyngeal cancers include Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo).


6. Palliative care

Focuses on managing symptoms and improving the quality of life of the patients with advanced cancer and it comprises pain management, nutritional and emotional support.


Despite the significant challenges posed by pharyngeal cancer, ongoing advancements in diagnosis, treatment, and understanding provide hope. Early detection remains crucial, and continuous research holds the potential to improve therapy options and enhance the quality of life for those confronting this disease.


استكشف شيئًا جديدًا

المدونات ذات الصلة


الورم النجمي للأطفال

الورم النجمي هو نوع من أورام المخ. تتشكل في خلايا صغيرة على شكل نجمة تسمى ...

Acoustic Neuroma.jpg

العصب السمعي

ورم العصب السمعي ، المعروف أيضًا باسم الورم الشفاني ، هو ورم حميد ينشأ من خلايا شوان ...


IIT Guwahati
University of Manchester
Rhenix Lifesciences
American university of Sharjah
IIT Delhi
subscribe green.png

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

bottom of page