Pharyngeal Cancer

What is Pharyngeal Cancer?

Pharyngeal cancer is a rare type of head and neck cancer. It is also known as the cancer of the pharynx. Like other types of cancers, pharyngeal cancer also has specific symptoms and requires proper diagnosis to know the best form of treatment. The pharynx is a part of the throat located behind the nasal cavity and mouth and above the oesophagus and the larynx. Development of cancer cells to any part of the pharynx leads to pharyngeal cancer. Pharyngeal cancer can occur in any of the three locations, namely oropharynx, hypopharynx, and nasopharynx. Tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and HPV (human papillomavirus) are the most common reasons for this kind of cancer. Depending upon the location of the cancer, the symptoms may further differ upon facing any or multiple of the symptoms.


It is always advisable to visit a specialist to understand the exact reason. The symptoms of pharyngeal cancer include:

  • Persistent headache.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Bleeding nose.
  • Ringing ears.
  • Lesions in the mouth.
  • Unexplained white or red patches.


The most probable causes of this disease include:

  • Improper dental hygiene.
  • Smoking.
  • Cells developing genetic mutations in your throat.
  • Formation of tumour in the throat.
  • Alcohol consumption.


The main risk factors include:

  • Wheezing.
  • Weight loss.
  • Ear pain.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Constant cough.


In order to prevent the occurrence of this disease, one should take care of the following:

  • Reducing the tendency to smoke.
  • Reducing the intake of alcohol.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, a basic physical examination of the head and neck area help diagnose the problem. The practitioner will also need to understand your medical history, lifestyle choices, and medications,...

How is it treated?

Sometimes one or multiple treatments may be required to completely remove and reduce the risks of cancer from spreading or returning. The treatment options for pharyngeal cancer are:


  • Surgery

    If the cancer tumour is small, it may be easily removed through surgery. For larger cancer tumours, a combination of surgery and radiotherapy is generally the most effective. The most effective treatment can only be decided upon understanding the exact stage of cancer, the size of the tumor, and its location.


  • Radiotherapy

    It is the process of using high energy X-rays to completely destroy the cancer cells. This is a primary treatment in case a surgery cannot be carried out, and is also conducted post-surgery to reduce the recurrence of cancer. There are a few side effects associated with radiotherapy, and our specialist at Medanta will best advise you on that.


  • Chemotherapy

    It is a kind of drug that kills and slows the growth of all the malignant cells. These drugs will stop the spread and growth of cancer cells if they are in the body.

When do I contact the doctor?

One should immediately contact the doctor if they begin to face symptoms like bleeding nose, constant headache, and weight loss. All these symptoms are going to be treated just right by our medical experts at Medanta.

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