INCLEMENT WEATHER NOTICE - Due to continuing icy road conditions, Lake Grove ENT is delaying opening hours, February 24th, 2023.  Clinic hours are slated to begin after noon.  
We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to reschedule those appointments affected.  

All About Throat Cancer: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

All About Throat Cancer: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Your throat, also called the pharynx, is the connecting tube between your head and shoulders and contains your esophagus (food tube) and trachea. It’s about five inches long, and we use it to speak, breathe, and pass food down to the rest of our digestive system. Throat problems are fairly common, such as when it gets sore from viruses, influenza (flu), and other upper respiratory infections, but many of those symptoms can also indicate throat cancer.

Estimates indicate that there will be over 12,000 new cases of throat cancer this year and nearly 4,00 people will die from it. We can try to lower those numbers by getting this cancer diagnosed and treated early, and to do that you’ll need to better understand the signs, causes, and treatments for this condition.

If you’re showing signs of throat cancer and live in the Lake Oswego, Oregon, area, the team of experts at Lake Grove ENT is here to help you find the treatment you need.

Understanding throat cancer

Throat cancer is actually the name of any one of several cancers affecting that general area, including the voice box (laryngeal cancer), oropharynx (oropharyngeal cancer, located behind your mouth, vocal cords (glottic cancer), and your nasopharynx (nasopharyngeal cancer). Laryngeal and oropharyngeal cancers are most common, often affecting older people (in their mid-50s and 60s), but you can get this or the other cancer when you’re younger.

Causes and risk factors

Cancer typically results from cell overproduction and mutation, and with throat cancer, the mutated cells that develop overtake healthy cells, killing them and forming tumors. Several risk factors increase the risk of getting this cancer, including tobacco use (smoking, chewing tobacco), alcohol misuse, viral infections (human papillomavirus or HPV, Epstein-Barr virus), a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, toxic substances, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


Throat cancer has five stages with varying symptoms depending on how much your condition has progressed. Common signs include hoarseness, dysphagia (trouble swallowing), a persistent cough (sometimes with blood), swollen lymph nodes, wheezing, ear pain, constant clearing of your throat, and sore throat. Later stages may present with signs like vocal changes, weight loss, and trouble breathing. 

Methods of treatment

Treatment options depend on how far your cancer has advanced, age, overall health, and location. Frequently, surgery (traditional or laser surgery), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies are used to help people struggling with this illness. A combination of treatments can be used in many cases, and your doctor will prepare you for potential side effects, especially regarding radiation and chemotherapy.

Throat cancer is a serious illness, but it can be treated, and we can help. If you are dealing with many of the symptoms listed above persistently, make an appointment with the team at Lake Oswego ENT today to get a proper diagnosis and quality treatment. 

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