One of the health difficulties is that so many ailments have similar symptoms. This renders it challenging to recognize the condition before it worsens. For instance, you can have a sore throat or a cough, which aren’t critical challenges because they disappear on their own. However, they can be signs of something more severe, such as throat cancer.
Throat cancer develops when the cells in your throat begin to grow and proliferate uncontrolled. Cancer normally starts in the throat wall, although it may start in other places, including the larynx or the epiglottis near the top of the windpipe. In other words, this cancer type typically develops in the organs responsible for swallowing, speaking, and breathing.
There are numerous different forms of throat cancer, with many different signs and symptoms of throat cancer. Throat cancer is usually comprised of pharyngeal malignancies, which are classified according to the location of the throat affected. The most prevalent pharyngeal cancers include hypopharyngeal, nasopharyngeal, and oropharyngeal. It also includes laryngeal cancers, which can grow from the vocal cords or voice box and produce glottis.
There is much more to learn about throat cancer, such as its causes and symptoms. But, in this article, we’ll review several ways to diagnose throat cancer, so you can find the proper throat cancer treatment.
Ways to Diagnose Throat Cancer
A complete diagnosis of throat cancer usually requires a comprehensive examination of the patient using a few conventional approaches. Upon consultation with your healthcare provider, the following procedures to screen for throat cancer may be performed1:
A biopsy is a process in which tissues or normal cells from the throat are extracted from the area where abnormalities are detected1. This procedure is carried out before the beginning of treatment for throat cancer because the tissues will be checked for the existence of cancer cells. The following biopsies are commonly used to diagnose throat cancers:
- Incisional biopsy: In this procedure, your healthcare provider will cut a bit of tissue from the abnormal-looking spot. Since the larynx is located deep within the neck, extracting samples is difficult. As a result, biopsies in this area are normally done in a surgery room under general anesthesia to avoid pain.
- Endoscopic biopsy: During this biopsy, your doctor will place an endoscope into one of your nostrils or mouth. This instrument has a light and a video camera on one end, giving your doctor a clear picture of the biopsied area. This device is used to extract tissue from a suspicious-looking spot.
- Fine needle aspiration (FNA): This type of biopsy involves extracting cancerous cells from a tumor or lump using a tiny needle hooked to a syringe.
Imaging tests provide images of the inside of your body using radioactive substances or x-rays. They are not used to diagnose throat cancer, but they can assist your doctor in carefully assessing the abnormal-looking area, determining how far the cancer has progressed and determining whether a throat cancer treatment option is effective. Some of the imaging tests that your physician may perform to help in the diagnosis of throat, head and neck cancer include3:
- Ultrasound: This imaging test uses sound wave echoes to build an image of a spot inside the body. During an FNA, ultrasound is utilized to guide the needle.
- Positron emission tomography (PET): If you’re diagnosed with throat cancer, a PET scan may be carried out to see whether the tumor has progressed to your lymph nodes. It may also be utilized to determine the origin of cancer, especially if it is first identified in the lymph nodes. Your physician may also apply a PET scan to screen for cancer cell spread in your body.
- Computed tomography scan (CT): The CT scan creates comprehensive cross-sectional images of the body using x-rays. With this test, your doctor can determine the tumor size and whether it spreads into nearby tissues or to lymph nodes in your neck. It also allows doctors to assess whether cancer has spread to the lungs or other tissues.
- Chest x-ray: A chest x-ray may be performed to determine whether cancer has advanced to the lungs. However, a CT scan of the lungs is more commonly performed since it provides more detailed images.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI scan can be utilized to assess throat cancer since it provides a precise view and can assist in establishing how far the tumor has extended to other parts of the neck or body.
- Barium swallow: This test is more effective if you have problems swallowing. The barium swallow test entails drinking a chalky liquid known as barium to cover the lining of the throat and esophagus. As you swallow, a sequence of x-rays of your throat and esophagus are obtained to help identify any issues.
Laryngoscopy enables your practitioner to have a clear view of your larynx or the spot where your vocal cords are located. This examination entails placing a small telescope or reflector down the throat to precisely check these areas. There are two methods for doing a laryngoscopy, including4:
- Direct technique: In this approach, your doctor will use a small telescope to perform a thorough sedation under general anesthesia, and you will not be able to feel the procedure while it is occurring.
- Indirect technique: During an indirect laryngoscopy, you will receive a local anesthetic in your throat, and a tiny mirror will be placed down your throat for assessment.
Understanding the Result of the Diagnosis
Biopsy, imaging tests, and laryngoscopy results can help determine a throat cancer diagnosis and identify where the tumor is positioned and if it has progressed to other parts of the body. They also assist in determining the cancer phase, which shows the extent to which cancer has progressed from its original spot. This significantly influences how the cancer is treated and how severe it is.
Throat Cancer Staging
Throat cancer is staged using the standard cancer staging system, which spans from 0 to IV. That is, your doctor will categorize cancer phases in these ways:
- Stage 0: This stage is characterized by the formation of abnormal cells in the throat. These cells have the potential to transform into cancer.
- Stage I: The throat tumor is less than 2 cm in size and has not progressed to a lymph node. Early detection is required at this stage to prevent the onset of lung cancer, esophageal cancer, or oropharyngeal cancer.
- Stage II: Tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but less than 4 cm in size. Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.
- Stage III: The tumor is larger than 4 cm or has progressed to 1 or 2 lymph nodes. Despite the fact that tumor growth has accelerated at this stage, the cancerous cells have not spread to other organs.
- Stage IV: The tumor has spread to surrounding tissue in stage IV throat cancer, larger or further distant lymph nodes, or other areas of the body, like the lungs.
Treatment Options for Throat Cancer
Advances in cancer studies have revealed that natural or alternative cancer treatments exist in addition to traditional cancer treatments. Therefore, you don’t have to limit your treatment options for throat cancer to targeted therapies like radiation and chemotherapy. You can try natural or alternative cancer treatments such as:
Rife Machine Therapy
Rife machine therapy employs low-level electromagnetic waves to target parts of the body where cancer cells are growing. This treatment option tunes electromagnetic waves to different frequencies to combat specific frequencies released by cancer cells. When those frequencies intersect, they neutralize each other, eliminating cancer cells.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Raising the oxygen level in one’s bloodstream may be an efficient technique for eliminating cancer cells that are used to being in a less oxygenated environment. Throat cancer patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy are placed in a hyperbaric chamber for a short period to inhale pure 100% oxygen. The primary objective is to make it easier for oxygen to circulate throughout the body. Increased oxygen makes it easier to eliminate cancer cells infiltrating the patient’s body.
Laser Cancer Therapy
Laser cancer therapy uses high-powered lasers to cut through malignant tissue within the body. Lasers are more effective in cutting than traditional blunt instruments; thus, surgeons frequently employ them during surgical procedures.
Immunity Therapy Center Can Help You Treat Throat Cancer
Throat cancer instances vary, and they should always be treated in the manner that is appropriate for you, depending on your medical records and the severity of the condition. At Immunity Therapy Center, our therapies focus on alternative treatments that boost the immune system, allowing your body to fight cancer naturally. For the best cancer care, we provide each patient with a thoroughly customized care plan of holistic treatments.
Immunity Therapy Center is the place to be if you’re looking for a natural and alternative way to treat cancer. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for any inquiries about alternative treatments for throat cancer and to learn more about our groundbreaking efforts to improve cancer care and treatments!
Written By: Dr. David Alvarez
Dr. David Alvarez is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Xochicalco and Certified by the American Heart Association (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support).
Dr. Alvarez has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista as an Assistant Medical Director at the Immunity Therapy Center for over 6 years. He provides daily on site patient care and participates on the medical board on research and development of patient treatment plans and programs. Dr. Alvarez is a knowledgeable and compassionate Doctor committed to helping patients get to where they want to be health wise through a more holistic and comprehensive approach.
- MedicalNewsToday. “What are the facts about throat cancer?” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312087#diagnosis,
- American Cancer Society. “Tests for Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers.” https://www.cancer.org/cancer/laryngeal-and-hypopharyngeal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html
- Healthline. “What Is Throat Cancer?” https://www.healthline.com/health/cancer-throat-or-larynx#imaging-tests
- Healthline. “A Close-Up Look at Laryngoscopy.” https://www.healthline.com/health/laryngoscopy#procedure
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.