Throat cancer is a general term for the various forms of cancerous cells and tumors that develop in the throat (pharynx), the voice box (larynx) or the tonsils. Throat cancer can also affect the epiglottis which is the cartilage covering the entrance to the windpipe. 1,2
All regions in the throat and surrounding area are closely connected and subject to the same types of cancer cells, however, there are clinical terms that differentiate the parts of the throat where cancer occurs.
- Nasopharyngeal cancer is located in the throat behind the nose
- Hypopharyngeal cancer is located above the esophagus and windpipe
- Oropharyngeal cancer is located around or in the tonsils
- Glottic cancer is located in the lower vocal cords
- Supraglottic cancer is located in the upper part of the larynx
- Subglottic cancer is located in the lower voice box
All these forms of throat cancer can be benign or malignant tumors. Benign tumors grow but don’t spread, therefore aren’t particularly dangerous. Malignant throat cancer is very dangerous as the tumors spread to other parts of the throat and body, usually by way of the lymphatic system. Cancerous spreading is known as metastasizing. 3
Throat cancer commonly occurs in two forms of premalignant lesions:
- Leukoplakia shows as small, white lesions that are easily treated and rarely become malignant.
- Erythroplakia shows as raised, reddish lesions that are more severe and aggressive. Left untreated, erythroplakia lesions usually continue to multiply and metastasize.
What Causes Throat Cancer
Throat cancer causes are not precisely known, however, the mechanism of cancer is well established. Cancer in the throat develops when cells genetically mutate. Instead of dying off as normal cell replacement, cancerous cells keep living and accumulate into tumors. 3
While throat cancer causes are not totally understood, there are certain factors that put people at higher risk for developing this disease. Throat cancer risk factors include:
- People over 45 years of age
- Males (Over twice as many men get throat cancer compared to women)
- Heavy alcohol drinkers
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) carriers
- Diets low in fruits and vegetables
- Sufferers of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Throat Cancer Symptoms
Throat cancer symptoms depend on the severity of the tumor and the person’s gender. Throat cancer symptoms in men are generally more common as men are over twice as likely to develop throat cancer as women. 1,2
Common throat cancer symptoms are:
- White lesions or red patches in throat
- Bleeding in mouth or throat
- Continual coughing
- Voice changes such as hoarseness or loss of volume
- Difficulty swallowing or eating
- Swelling in jaw
- Lump in throat
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
- Weight loss
Natural Remedies and Herbs for Throat Cancer
There are very few throat cancer natural remedies. Two of the known natural treatments for throat cancer include:
- Blackberry Lily - Blackberry lily is botanically identified as Belamcanda Chinensis. It’s mostly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens or containers but this herb is well known in Chinese medicine for having strong anti-cancer properties. It is one of the few throat cancer natural remedies and is available in raw or dried powder form to be taken internally.
- Carrot Oil - Carrot oil is extremely high in beta-carotene which is a valuable source of vitamin A and an antioxidant that works to kill cancerous cells including tumors in the throat. Carrot oil is available in a liquid extract and is one of the strongest essential oils that works as a throat cancer natural remedy.