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 are under development for throat cancer include various biological therapies, including:
- Growth factor-receptor antagonists
- Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors
- Oncolytic viruses
- Photodynamic therapy
Robotic-assisted surgery is available for patients who qualify.
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
Most oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that begin in
the thin, flat cells that line the inside of the oropharynx.