Throat Cancer Treatment in Mumbai, India

What is Throat Cancer?

Cancer of the windpipe, gullet, or thyroid gland is called throat cancer. Doctors usually refer to it as head and neck cancer. This type of cancer mostly originates in the throat. It may begin in the pharynx, the tube starting behind the nose and ending in the neck, or the voice box, also known as the larynx.

Associated Anatomy

Liver, bones, and lungs

Causes of Throat Cancer

The causes of throat cancer largely depend on its type. Some of these causes are:

  • Tobacco and alcohol consumption: Heavy and long-term use of alcohol and tobacco can increase an individual's chances of developing throat cancer.
  • Sunlight exposure: Long-term exposure to harmful sun rays may also cause throat cancer.
  • Previous X-Rays: Previous X-rays of the neck and the head can also be the cause of throat cancer.
  • Other suspected causes: Ill-fitting dental appliances, certain viral infections, poor oral hygiene, and chronic candidiasis can also cause throat cancer. 

Signs or Symptoms of Throat Cancer

The signs and symptoms of throat cancer can vary depending on where the tumor is located. The general symptoms are:

  • Sore throat: Lasting discomfort or pain in the throat
  • Voice changes: The individual's voice may sound huskier, quieter, or as if they have a cold all the time.
  • Trouble swallowing: Burning sensation or pain when swallowing or chewing food
  • Lump in the throat caused by swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble moving the tongue
  • Trouble opening the mouth
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Coughing up blood
  • White patches on the tongue or the mouth lining

Throat Cancer Treatments

The treatment options for throat cancer are:


If the tumor in the throat is small, the doctor may remove it surgically. The surgical procedures used include:

  • Endoscopic surgery: The doctor uses an endoscope for the insertion of lasers and surgical instruments to treat cancer at an early stage.
  • Pharyngectomy: Part of the throat is surgically removed.
  • Laryngectomy: All or portions of the voice box are removed, depending on the severity of throat cancer.
  • Cordectomy: All or portions of the vocal cords are removed.
  • Neck dissection: Lymph nodes in the neck are removed if cancer has spread to the neck.

Radiation therapy

High-energy rays are used for destroying cancer cells. Different types of radiation therapy used for treatment include:

  • Brachytherapy: Radioactive seeds are placed directly within the tumor or close to the tumor.
  • 3D-conformal radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy: Radiation beams in the shape of a tumor are used for treating the condition.
  • Chemotherapy plus radiation: A combined treatment for tumors that have spread to the lymph nodes and the other tissues and organs. It involves using drugs to kill and slow down the growth of cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy: The drug cetuximab is used to treat throat cancer.
  • Immunotherapy: Use of medicines that enable the immune system to fight cancer. These medicines are known as checkpoint inhibitors. 

Risk factors

A variety of risk factors can increase the chances of throat cancer.

  • Long-term use of tobacco
  • Regular and heavy drinking
  • HPV or human papillomavirus
  • Insufficient intake of vegetables and fruits
  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Exposure to chemicals or frequent exposure to nickel, sulphuric acid fumes, and asbestos

Various Stages of Throat Cancer

If doctors find the growth of cancerous cells in the throat, they may prescribe additional tests to identify the stage of cancer. The stages of throat cancer are:

  • Stage 0: Throat cancer tumor remains on the top layer of the cells in the affected part of the throat.
  • Stage 1: Growth of cancer cells is restricted just to the part of the throat where it began.
  • Stage 2: Tumor spreads to nearby areas.
  • Stage 3: Tumor grows to other structures within the throat, and even spreads to a lymph node.
  • Stage 4: Tumor spreads to several lymph nodes and even distant organs. 

Typical Test

Doctors perform direct or indirect laryngoscopy to diagnose throat cancer. A panendoscopy may help doctors see the mouth, larynx, nasal cavity, esophagus, and lungs, all at the same time. If the tests are indicative of cancer, doctors may prescribe a tissue sample or biopsy for further testing. Doctors can also order different imaging tests like CT, MRI, ultrasound, and X-ray for proper diagnosis.


Primary Prevention

Primary prevention methods for throat cancer include:

  • Quitting or avoiding tobacco and smoking
  • Monitoring alcohol intake
  • Engaging in regular physical activities
  • Consuming a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, inclusive of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Limiting the intake of sugar, fats, and processed foods
  • Getting HPV vaccine

Secondary Prevention

  • Retinoids are effective in treating premalignant oral lesions.

Additional Type

HPV or human papillomavirus infection is related to throat cancer. The increase in incidences of HPV is linked to the increase in throat cancer cases.

Alternate Names

Laryngeal cancer, hypopharyngeal cancer, pharyngeal cancer, laryngopharyngeal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, and nasopharyngeal cancer


  • Throat cancer accounts for 9,00,000 cases and over 4,00,000 deaths annually throughout the world.
  • Men are more significantly affected than women, the proportion being 4:1 and 2:1, respectively.

Expected Prognosis

Throat cancer prognosis varies depending on the primary site of the tumor, its size, and aetiology. With proper treatment, the 5-year survival rate for stage 1 throat cancer patients can be as high as 90%. Similarly, the survival rate can be 75% to 80% for the stage 2 patients, 75% for the stage 3 patients, and 50% for the stage 4 patients.

Natural Progression

Throat cancer can spread throughout the lymph structure in the neck if the patient does not get proper and timely treatment. If left untreated, throat cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and may become a possible cause for recurrence of the condition.


Throat cancer arises from the squamous cells or the cells protecting the upper respiratory airway. On gross pathology, mucosal ulceration flattened plaques, and increased lesion margins are exact findings of throat cancer.

Possible Complications of Throat Cancer

The possible complications of advanced throat cancer are:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Airway obstruction
  • Hardening of the skin around the neck
  • Disfigurement of the face or neck
  • Loss of the ability to speak

Our Medical Throat Cancer Treatment in Mumbai, India Experts

If you are facing any similar signs or symptoms please contact the Nanavati Max team to schedule an appointment at : +91 22 6836 0000

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