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Throat Cancer Treatment

Traditionally, surgery and/or radiation therapy have been the standards for treatment of oropharyngeal cancers, but these treatments are sometimes complicated by failure to control the spread of disease and significant long-term functional deficits.

Some doctors suggest that a combination of multi-agent chemotherapy and radiation has become the standard of care for the management of patients with late-stage disease. This treatment emphasizes organ preservation and function.

New Treatments for Oropharyngeal Cancer 

New treatments are under development for throat cancer include various biological therapies, including:

  • Vaccines
  • Growth factor-receptor antagonists
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors
  • Oncolytic viruses
  • Photodynamic therapy

Robotic-assisted surgery is available for patients who qualify.

What Makes up the Oropharynx? 

The oropharynx is the middle part of the throat behind the mouth and includes the:

  • Back third of the tongue
  • Soft palate
  • Side and back walls of the throat and the tonsils

The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea and esophagus. Air and food pass through the pharynx on the way to the esophagus.

Most oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that begin in the thin, flat cells that line the inside of the oropharynx.