Throat Cancer Treatment

There are several ways to treat throat cancer, including:

  • surgery to remove the cancer
  • radiation therapy, using high-energy rays such as x-rays to destroy cancer cells
  • chemotherapy with drugs that kill cancer cells

Which treatment or combination of treatments is right for you depends on the stage of the cancer. Whether the cancer began in the hypopharynx, the larynx, or oropharynx also has an effect.

  • The main treatment for laryngeal cancer and hypopharyngeal cancer is usually surgery. Sometimes radiation or chemotherapy are given after surgery to reduce the chances that the cancer will come back.
  • Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are all common approaches for oropharyngeal cancer. MSK offers specialized treatment options for oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV infection

Quality of Life after Throat Cancer Treatment

Quality-of-life considerations are a vital component of your care. Our head and neck cancer team keeps a vigilant watch to make sure that the people we care for get the resources and support they need to cope with any side effects that come up.

For example, the team has developed an online questionnaire called FACE-Q. It allows patients to report their treatment experience to us in real time. The information is automatically fed into your medical record. It helps the team make prompt referrals to other experts in rehabilitation, pain management, or social work so that we can help address any side effects of treatment as soon as possible.

Until recently, many people with throat cancer had feeding tubes put in place to help avoid the complications of radiation treatment. Today, we pay careful attention to swallowing therapy and symptom management. Now the vast majority of our patients complete treatment without a feeding tube.

Why Choose Memorial Sloan Kettering for Throat Cancer Care

Our goal is to give compassionate, personalized care to every person who comes to Memorial Sloan Kettering for throat cancer treatment. Your team of head and neck cancer specialists focuses solely on cancer that begins in the throat and other areas of the head and neck. This includes your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

MSK’s head and neck cancer team will design a treatment plan especially for you. Our areas of expertise include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and quality-of-life issues. Working together helps us ensure that we choose the best combination of therapies to treat the cancer and give you the best outcome possible.

Choose Memorial Sloan Kettering for throat cancer care because:

  • We deliver more-effective radiation therapy directly to throat tumors. We use the most-precise methods available and tailor the therapy specifically for throat cancer.
  • We offer unparalleled skill and experience in throat cancer surgery. We take innovative approaches to preserve your appearance and the functions of your throat.
  • People with advanced throat cancer have access to new drug treatments through our clinical trials. This includes immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
  • Our experts in oropharyngeal cancer have developed specialized approaches that improve quality of life for people with HPV-related tumors.
  • Our rehabilitation experts design individualized treatment plans. We can help manage problems with speech, voice, swallowing, and other side effects of throat cancer and its treatment.
  • Our dental team makes sure you’re in good oral health before treatment begins and is there to support you during and after your treatment.
  • Our patients receive follow-up care from nurse practitioners who specialize in the long-term medical needs of people who been treated for head and neck cancer.