Understanding The Different Throat Cancer Stages
If detected early, throat cancer can be treated and patients suffering from the disease can go on to heal and lead a completely normal life. The anomaly occurs when cells multiply in a way that is abnormal and uncontrollable. Though there are many types of cancer, cancer of the throat normally effects the larynx or pharynx. It is less common than other types of cancer which are detected each year around the world.
Determining the treatment and survival rate is normally dependent upon the stage and how early it has been detected, looking for symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, swollen nodes, pain in the ears and throat, wheezing and a change in voice, difficulty in swallowing, and coughing, can lead to a diagnosis and assist your physician in assessing the stage that it is in.
Throat cancer is broken down into four stages, with a pre-stage, or stage 0 being described as the development of a tumor which is contained and not spreading. This is when tissues are precancerous, and may only be on the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, throat cancer is rarely caught in these early stages as symptoms are unlikely to appear until much later. Treatment in stage 0 could include laser removal of the cancerous tissues or radiotherapy. Radiotherapy works to break down cancer cells using laser therapy.
Of the various throat cancer stages, this one involves a small tumor of 7 cm in size. Like the precancerous tissue, it is contained in the throat and can be removed through surgery or radiotherapy. Surgery is normally avoided if possible, particularly in cases where the tumor is evident on or near the vocal cords.
Cancer cells are beginning to spread in stage two, but are still contained in the throat. Tumors exceed the 7 cm size of stage 1 and may require a partial laryngectomy or more advanced forms of radiotherapy to resolve the issue.
Unlike earlier throat cancer stages, stage 3 means that the tumor has now spread and expanded into areas other than the throat. It can be quite aggressive at this stage, but is still treatable using radiotherapy and chemotherapy, often at the same time. Chemotherapy offers the support of medication which work to slow or halt the growth of the tumor and cancerous tissues. Surgical procedures, such as a partial laryngectomy, may be implemented to decrease cancerous tissue.
Stage 4 of throat cancer is the most advanced, and usually implies that the tumor has spread into the lymphatic system and other organs. Sometimes radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be used, but the more common treatment includes a total laryngectomy. Radiotherapy is often still used, no matter what the stage, as it not only shrinks the tumor but discourages cancer from returning once it has been eradicated.
If you have any symptoms of throat cancer it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Treatment is much more effective in the early stages of the disease. As time goes on, tumors can grow and cancerous tissues get stronger, making it more difficult to remove them.
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