cancer is often subject of complications; complications may be due to either the cancer itself or its treatment.
Some throat cancer complications include:
Metastasis - the cancer can spread into nearby tissues of the throat
such as mouth and cervical lymph nodes, or more distantly sites such as the lungs.
Airway obstruction – if you have throat cancer, the tumor can block your
airways and make breathing difficult. Besides the cancer, the treatment itself can cause respiratory problems.
If you had a total removal of the larynx, you will need a tracheostomy to maintain respiration.
Deformation of the throat and neck
- if you have had surgery which involved
removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue, this can lead to some distortion of the throat and neck. Not
only the operation may make the movement of your neck difficult, a tracheostomy may leave a permanent opening
(stoma) in your neck.
Difficulty eating - in most cases, after surgery, you will have difficulty
swallowing foods of a certain consistency. In addition, if you had radiotherapy treatment, you may experience
difficulty chewing or opening your mouth widely.
Loss of voice - removal of the larynx can affect your vocal chords and
prevent you from speaking normally. Today, there are methods used to help patients facing these
speech (or voice) – this
alternate method allows you to
vocalize without the oscillation in your vocal cords; it
involves swallowing air and expelling it to produce sounds. Esophageal speech is the basic method to
replace the normal voice; however, you will need a speech therapist at the beginning to help you become
familiar with the technique.
- Tracheoesophageal (TE) voice
prosthesis - this technique involves placing a small valve between the trachea and esophagus. It allows
you to produce TE speech by shunting air from the lungs into the esophagus, which vibrate the esophageal
medical device is usually recommended by a laryngologist or a speech-language pathologist for
voice rehabilitation following a total laryngectomy.
- Electrolarynx - this is an electronic device used to produce
clearer speech by those who have lost their original voicebox, usually due to cancer of the larynx. Held
near the skin of the throat or the corner of the mouth, the device produces a mechanical voice that helps
the wearer communicate in a comfortable and familiar way.
Throat Cancer Diagnosis