Donate to Throat Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

Throat (oropharyngeal) cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissues of a patient’s oropharynx. The oropharynx is the middle of the throat which includes the tonsils, soft palate, the base of the tongue and the walls of the pharynx. A donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will provide treatments to patients and further research on this form of cancer.

Cancer in the oropharynx is highly curable. The potential for a cure is highest for patients who have the type of cancer that is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). In many cases, throat cancer does not cause symptoms in its early stages. As the disease advances, symptoms include:

  • Persistent sore throat
  • A lump in the neck
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Voice changes
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Ear pain
  • Trouble moving the tongue and opening the mouth
  • A dull pain behind the sternum
  • Coughing up blood

In the base of the mouth and the tonsils, symptoms can include a sensation of a foreign object in the throat, an enlarged lymph node, difficulty swallowing and sore throat. Any sign of symptoms should be reported to your physician.

The two most common causes of throat cancer are prior infection with HPV and a history of smoking. The type of cancer caused by HPV is more common, and this cancer arises in either the tonsil or the base of the tongue. An evaluation from a Northwestern Medicine professional is required to accurately diagnose and outline the stage of cancer, which includes a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Gathering tissue from the tumor or lymph node is also required. Other imaging studies, such as a CT scan, may be ordered by your physician. Throat cancer, while curable, is best treated the earlier it is detected.

Treatment of throat cancer depends on the exact location of the tumor and the extent of the tumor. The full extent is determined by clinical evaluation and imaging studies. Northwestern Medicine prides itself on using minimally invasive robotic surgery, focused radiation techniques and recent advances in drug therapy to maximize the likelihood of a cure while preserving the long-term quality of life. Surgical technique may include primary tumor resection, neck dissection, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other techniques as recommended by physicians. Nonsurgical procedures are available as well depending on the severity of cancer. All treatment plans will be prescribed after consultation with your medical team to determine the best course of action.

Throat Cancer Research Donation

While throat cancer is frequently curable, more research is necessary to advance treatment options available to patients. Every compassionate donation helps to make this type of cancer completely curable. A contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation provides the resources scientists need to conduct lifesaving research. Your donations give patients with throat cancer the hope for better treatments that will preserve their long-term health and quality of life.

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