Hypopharyngeal Cancer


This disease is a cancer of the hypopharynx, the lower portion of the throat where the throat meets the trachea and esophagus. If left untreated, these cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body. This type of cancer is relatively uncommon, and affects more men than women.


Hypopharyngeal cancer is caused by a mutation in the genes of cells in the hypopharynx, resulting in abnormal cells that grow and reproduce rapidly to form a tumor. Risk factors include tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, a poor diet, and exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV).


Symptoms may include unexplained soreness in the throat that does not go away, pain in the throat or ear, pain when swallowing, a lump in the neck, and a change in the voice.


Treatment options depend on the stage of the cancer and the patient’s age and condition. Treatment methods may include surgery to remove the cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Regular followup exams are necessary.