Throat Cancer | Miami Cancer Institute | Baptist Health South Florida
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Three generation family supporting benign blood disorder patient at Miami Cancer Institute

Throat Cancer

Surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, dental experts and rehabilitation therapists at Miami Cancer Institute collaborate to create your individualized throat cancer treatment plan.

They use the most advanced technology and therapies to increase your chance of a successful outcome that preserves your appearance and ability to speak and eat.

About Throat Cancer

Throat cancer can occur in the pharynx, the hollow tube between the nose and esophagus. Tumors in this region include cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx) and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Throat cancer also can occur in the larynx, the area of the throat that contains the vocal cords.

Throat Cancer Risk Factors

Tobacco and alcohol use are the largest risk factors for throat cancer. Other risk factors include:

  • Male gender – men are up to five times more likely than women to get throat cancer
  • African-American heritage
  • Over age 65
  • Exposure to asbestos and chemicals such as nickel, sulfuric acid and paint fumes
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV), which raises your risk of cancer in the oropharynx  
  • Epstein-Barr virus, which raises your risk of cancer in the nasopharynx 

Symptoms of Throat Cancer

If you experience the following symptoms, it is important to discuss them with your doctor since they may signal a health problem.

  • Change in the voice, including hoarseness
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Earaches
  • Lump in the neck
  • Chronic cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Unexplained weight loss
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To make a complete and accurate diagnosis, your physician will perform a physical exam and review your health history, lifestyle habits and family health history. If you have signs and symptoms of throat cancer, the following tests also may be performed to determine the type, location and stage of the disease.

  • Biopsy, to examine the tumor tissue.
  • Barium swallow test, to evaluate swallowing.
  • Imaging studies, including X-rays, CT, MRI or PET scans.
  • Endoscopy, to view the upper airways and inside the nostrils, throat and vocal cords.
  • Laryngoscopy, using a laryngoscope to examination the larynx. 
  • Esophagoscopy, to view the esophagus.
  • Bronchoscopy, to view the bronchial tubes and lungs.

Miami Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary team of credentialed physicians and clinicians collaborate to ensure your treatment and support is integrated and effective. Our compassionate team will continue to support you and provide follow-up care and screening after your cancer treatment.

Your care plan may include one or a combination of the following therapies:

  • Surgery, including minimally invasive techniques to remove the tumor while sparing structures needed for speech and swallowing.
  • Proton therapy, using pencil-beam technology to precisely deliver high radiation doses to the tumor, resulting in optimum outcomes with fewer side effects.
  • Radiation therapy, which targets throat cancer tumors with the maximum amount of radiation while minimizing damage to healthy cells.
  • Chemotherapy, to destroy tumor cells and stop their ability to grow and divide.
  • Targeted therapies, which uses drugs and other methods to help your body fight cancer.
  • Clinical trials​, which may offer new treatment options for oral cancer.