What is hypopharyngeal cancer?

Hypopharyngeal cancer is a very uncommon kind of throat cancer. It begins in the bottom of the throat (the hypopharynx), directly under the voice-box (larynx). Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for the majority of hypopharyngeal malignancies. This form of cancer develops in the cells that line the throat, says the best head & neck cancer doctor in Kolkata.

What is the difference between hypopharyngeal and laryngeal cancer?

Both hypopharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer are malignancies of the throat. However, they have distinct effects on various areas of the neck.

The cells that make up the lower section of the pharynx, just above the oesophagus, are affected by hypopharyngeal carcinoma. Laryngeal carcinoma develops inside the laryngeal tissues (commonly called the voicebox).

Who are most likely to be affected by hypopharyngeal cancer?

Hypopharyngeal cancer accounts for a minor proportion of all head and neck cancer incidences. In general, the incidence of hypopharyngeal carcinoma has decreased in recent years.

Hypopharyngeal cancer may affect anyone. However, men are more likely to be affected than women, with most cases occurring after the age of 50, says the head and neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata.

What are the most prevalent risk factors for hypopharyngeal cancer?

Certain risk factors increase your chances of developing hypopharyngeal cancer. The presence of one or more risk factors does not guarantee that you will get the illness. Cancer can, nevertheless, emerge in the absence of risk factors. Making healthy choices (such as stopping smoking), on the other hand, has the potential to prevent cancer.

Risk factors for hypopharyngeal carcinoma include:

Smoking any type of tobacco
Consistently consuming an excessive amount of alcohol
A history of head and neck cancer, such as salivary gland cancer
Receiving radiation therapy around the head or neck

What factors contribute to hypopharyngeal cancer?

Cancer develops when something causes the DNA inside healthy cells to mutate (alter). Cells proliferate out of control as a result of this alteration. Cancer cells, if left untreated, can develop growth or tumour and can spread to other parts of the body.

It is still unclear about why healthy cells become cancerous. So far, evidence indicates that cigarettes and alcohol significantly influence the development of many head and neck malignancies. This also applies to hypopharyngeal cancer, says the head and neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata.

Tobacco and alcohol both harm cells in the mouth and throat over time. They are responsible for at least three out of every four head and neck cancer cases. What is certain is that the more you consume alcohol or smoke, the greater your chance of developing hypopharyngeal cancer.

What are the symptoms of hypopharyngeal carcinoma?

Symptoms of hypopharyngeal carcinoma are not always obvious. People with early throat cancer may not detect any symptoms at all. Many hypopharyngeal cancer symptoms might mimic common, curable diseases. Your doctor can assist you in determining if anything is wrong and direct you to the appropriate therapy. The typical symptoms of hypopharyngeal carcinoma are:

Changes in your voice, which may sound rough or hoarse
You can feel a lump around your neck
A severe sore throat that lasts for a long time
Issues with swallowing (which may make eating hard or painful)
Unexplained ear discomfort, ringing, or fullness in one or both ears

For more details, consult Dr Suvadip Chakrabarti, the best head & neck cancer doctor in Kolkata.