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Hypopharyngeal Cancer Treatment

General Information About Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Hypopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the hypopharynx.

The hypopharynx is the bottom part of the pharynx (throat). The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose, goes down the neck, and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach). Air and food pass through the pharynx on the way to the trachea or the esophagus.

Most hypopharyngeal cancers form in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells lining the inside of the hypopharynx. The hypopharynx has 3 different areas. Cancer may be found in 1 or more of these areas.

Hypopharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.

Use of tobacco products and heavy drinking can affect the risk of developing hypopharyngeal cancer.

Risk factors include the following:

Possible signs of hypopharyngeal cancer include a sore throat and ear pain.

These and other symptoms may be caused by hypopharyngeal cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

Tests that examine the throat and neck are used to help detect (find) and diagnose hypopharyngeal cancer.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:

Treatment options depend on the following:

Patients who have had hypopharyngeal cancer are at an increased risk of developing a second cancer in the head or neck. Frequent and careful follow-up is important.