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Throat Cancer

Our Approach

At MD Anderson's Head and Neck Center, some of the world's leading throat cancer experts focus extraordinary expertise on each patient. Your care is carefully planned to address your needs and to ensure you receive the most advanced treatment with the least impact on your body.

MD Anderson is known nationwide as one of the leading centers for treatment of throat cancer. We have developed approaches that have enabled thousands of patients with throat cancer to avoid radical surgery and enjoy a better quality of life, treating the cancer while saving the ability to speak and swallow.

We take a team approach to throat cancer care, providing comprehensive, yet highly specialized, treatment. Your personal team of experts may include oncologists; surgeons and plastic surgeons; radiation oncologists; dentists; speech pathologists and swallowing experts; dietitians; and physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Pioneering Research, Comprehensive Care

At MD Anderson, patients with throat cancer benefit from one of the most active research programs in the United States, which includes a prestigious federally funded head and neck SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence). This means we are able to offer a wide range of clinical trials (research studies) for various types and stages of disease.

And at MD Anderson you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced cancer centers, which has all the services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with throat cancer, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Minimally invasive and endoscopic surgical techniques for throat cancer, including robotic and laser surgery through the mouth
  • Special expertise in reconstructive surgery for throat cancer
  • Innovative methods to retain and restore speech after throat cancer
  • Nationally known research center that offers multiple clinical trials

Throat Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

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Throat Cancer Facts

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 38,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with throat cancer in 2011. Throat cancer is a general term, but it is often used to refer to cancer of the:

Pharynx, a hollow tube between the nose and esophagus (swallowing tube) that includes the:

  • Nasopharynx: the upper section, which is behind the nose
  • Oropharynx: the middle section, which is behind the mouth
  • Hypopharynx: the bottom section, which is behind the voice box (larynx)

Larynx, also called the voice box, which is the part of the throat containing the vocal cords that help you speak. The larynx has three parts:

  • Glottis: the middle portion that contains the vocal cords
  • Supraglottis: the area above the vocal cords
  • Subglottis: the area below the vocal cords and above the trachea (windpipe)

Approximately half the cases of throat cancer are found in each of the larynx and pharynx. The number of new cases of smoking-related cancers, such as cancer of the larynx and many cancers of the pharynx, is declining.

The number of new oropharynx cancers is increasing, however, because of a relatively new cause of this disease, human papillomavirus (HPV). Patients with HPV-related oropharynx cancer are less likely to smoke and may have a better outlook than patients with smoking-related oropharynx cancer.

Throat Cancer Types

Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. This means they develop in the squamous cells that line the throat.

Other less frequent types of throat cancer include cancers of the minor salivary glands.

If you have been diagnosed with throat cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center