This Woonona dentist explains that oropharyngeal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the oropharynx tissues. It is a type of neck and head cancer. The oropharynx is located behind the mouth and is the middle part of the pharynx which is a 5 inch long hollow tube that starts behind a person’s nose and it ends where the esophagus begin.The oropharynx is made up of tonsils, back one third of the tongue, soft palette as well as the side and back walls of the throat.
The most common risk of oropharyngeal cancer include ; people with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), heavy cigarette smokers with tobacco use or more than 10 pack years, chewers of betel quid which is a stimulant that is used commonly in some parts of asia and a history of head and neck cancer.
People with oropharyngeal cancer may experience symptoms such as; thickening or a lump in the cheek, feeling like something is stuck or a sore throat that does not go away. trouble with opening the mouth fully or moving the tongue, pain in the ears, having trouble swallowing, presence of white or red patch on gums, lining of the mouth or tongue and coughing up blood.
Oropharyngeal cancer treatment
A PET-CT scan, an MRI, a physical exam and a biopsy are the tests used to examine the mouth and determine if oropharyngeal cancer cells are present, and diagnose and stage the cancer.
Oropharyngeal cancer treatment options:
This type of treatment uses drugs to stop cancer cells from growing either by stopping them from dividing or killing them.If chemotherapy is injected into a vein or taken by mouth, the drugs enter your bloodstream and they can now reach cancer cells all over the body. This is called systemic chemotherapy.
Surgery is quite common when it comes to oropharynx cancer treatment. In some situations, the cancer spreads to lymph node in which case they have to be surgically removed by an operation called lymph node or neck dissection.
There are three procedures through which different amount of neck tissue is removed.
•Selective or Neck Dissection where only a few lymph nodes are removed.
•Modified Radical Neck Dissection where most of the lymph nodes on one side of the neck are removed
•Radical Neck Dissection where nearly all the lymph nodes are removed.
High-energy x-rays and other types of radiation are used to kill cancer cells.
there are two types of radiation therapy:
• Internal radiation therapy