Head & Neck Conditions (Throat Cancers)

When non-surgical treatments cannot ease your symptoms or treat your condition, doctors often recommend surgery to throat cancer patients. Throat cancer refers to a category of conditions including: tonsil cancer, cancer of the larynx (laryngeal cancer), cancer of the pharynx (pharyngeal cancer) and tongue cancer.

The size, stage and location of the tumor will determine the type of surgery that gets recommended. There are two main types of throat cancer surgery: open surgery and transoral surgery (through the mouth).

Throat cancer includes:
  • Oral cavity: inner lip, tongue, floor of mouth, gingivae (gums), and hard palate (roof of mouth)
  • Nasopharynx: nasal cavities and tubes that connect the upper part of the throat
  • Oropharynx: soft palate, base of tongue and tonsils
  • Hypopharynx: sinuses, wall of pharynx (tube behind the nose/nasal cavity) and postcricoid area (where larynx and esophagus meet)
  • Larynx: mainly voice box and vocal cords
  • Trachea: windpipe

The type of treatment and/or surgery suggested will depend on the size, stage and location of the tumor. If surgery is recommended, it can include: open surgery (through one large incision) or transoral surgery (minimally invasive surgery through the mouth).Minimally invasive surgery can be done through transoral laser surgery or da Vinci transoral robotic-assisted surgery (TORS).