What is Oropharyngeal Cancer?

Oropharyngeal cancer

Oropharyngeal cancer is cancer that arises from the mouth or throat. It affects men more often than women and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 70. Chewing or smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol and some infections increase the risk of getting oropharyngeal cancer. Symptoms of this condition include a change in the voice, difficulty swallowing, a persistently sore throat, and the feeling of a lump in the throat. Diagnosis involves taking a small sample (a biopsy) of cancer to investigate cancer. Treatment depends on the size of cancer and whether it has spread at the time of diagnosis. It often involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The outcome after a diagnosis of oropharyngeal cancer depends on the cancer stage. People whose cancer results from a viral infection tend to have a better chance of recovery.


Cancer occurs when a group of abnormal cells grows uncontrollably. These cells destroy the normal cells around them and can spread into other body areas. Oropharyngeal cancer arises from the mouth, tongue, and throat. It affects men more often than women and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 70. People who smoke, chew tobacco, drink alcohol, have a weak immune system, who have had radiation to their neck are at increased risk of developing this condition. Some viral infections, most commonly the wart virus (the human papillomavirus), are also known to increase the risk of this condition.


The symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer include swallowing difficulty, a persistently sore throat or ear, cough, bad breath, voice changes, unexplained weight loss, and the feeling of lumping in the throat. A slow-growing lump or a non-healing ulcer may be present.


The diagnosis is based on the symptoms, physical examination, and a small cancer sample (a biopsy) is taken and investigated for cancer. Other investigations may be necessary to stage cancer.


Treatment of oropharyngeal cancer depends on the cancer stage at the time of diagnosis. This is decided by the size of cancer, the exact type of cancer, and whether cancer has spread. Cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, or a combination of these. The treating doctor can give the best advice about treatment in individual cases.


Giving up smoking and reducing alcohol intake may help prevent some oropharyngeal cancer episodes. Practicing safe sex can also help to prevent this condition.

Other names for oropharyngeal cancer

  • Mouth cancer or throat cancer

**What is​ Oropharyngeal Cancer?**

**Q: What is oropharyngeal cancer?**

**A:** Oropharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that develops in the oropharynx, which is the part of the throat located behind ⁣the mouth. It includes the ⁣base ⁢of the ⁤tongue, tonsils,⁢ and the walls of the pharynx.

**Keywords:** Oropharyngeal cancer, head and⁤ neck cancer, oropharynx, base of tongue, tonsils, pharynx

**Q: What ⁣are the symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer?**

**A:** Symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer can include:

* A persistent sore⁣ throat

* Difficulty ‍swallowing

* Ear pain

* ⁣A ⁤lump or mass in the neck

* Hoarseness

* Bleeding from ⁤the throat or ​mouth

**Keywords:** Symptoms, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, ear pain, ‌neck mass, hoarseness, bleeding

**Q: What are the risk factors for​ oropharyngeal cancer?**

**A:** Risk factors for oropharyngeal cancer include:

* Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

* Smoking

* Excessive alcohol consumption

* Prolonged sun exposure

* Certain occupations, such as those involving‌ exposure to asbestos or wood dust

**Keywords:**⁣ Risk factors,​ human papillomavirus (HPV), smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, asbestos, wood dust

**Q: How is ‍oropharyngeal cancer ⁤diagnosed?**

**A:** Diagnosis of oropharyngeal cancer typically involves:

* ⁢A physical examination

* A biopsy to remove a ‍small tissue sample for further analysis

* Imaging tests, ​such as CT or MRI scans, ‍to determine the extent of the cancer

**Keywords:** Diagnosis, physical examination, biopsy, imaging, CT scan, MRI scan

**Q: What‍ are the treatment options for oropharyngeal cancer?**

**A:** Treatment options for oropharyngeal cancer depend on the stage and location of the cancer. They may include:

* ​Surgery

* Radiation therapy

* Chemotherapy

* Targeted therapy

* Immunotherapy

**Keywords:** Treatment,‍ surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy


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