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What is Oropharyngeal Cancer?

The Florida Hospital Cancer Institute offers the latest and most effective treatment for oropharyngeal cancer in Orlando. This form of cancer affects the middle part of the throat and involves the base of the tongue, tonsils, soft palate and walls of the pharynx. Oropharyngeal cancer occurs when cancer cells develop inside the oropharynx. The oropharynx is located in the middle of the pharynx (throat). The oropharynx includes the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the soft palate (back of the mouth), and the walls of the pharynx. For more information about treatment for oropharyngeal cancer in Orlando, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Symptoms of Oropharyngeal Cancer

Early symptoms include:

  • Persistent sore throat or cough
  • Hard or painful swallowing
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Vocal changes
  • Ear pain
  • A lump in the throat, mouth or neck
  • Dull chest pain
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Risk Factors of Oropharyngeal Cancer

While researchers do not yet fully understand what causes cancer cells to develop in the body, they have linked certain risk factors to the disease. 

The following are some of the known risk factors of oropharyngeal cancer:

  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Chronic irritation (often from ill-fitting dental appliances)
  • A diet that lacks fruits and vegetables
  • HPV infection
  • Being male (males are two times as likely as females

Tobacco and heavy alcohol use are most often implicated in cancers of this type. Doing both further multiples the risk.

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Stages of Oropharyngeal Cancer

After your physician has confirmed a diagnosis, they will assign a stage of oropharyngeal cancer. The National Cancer Institute indicates the following are the stages of oropharyngeal and oral cancer:

Stage I and II – During these early stages of oropharyngeal cancer, the tumor is smaller than a walnut and has not spread to any lymph nodes. 

Stage III and Stage IV – During these advanced stages, the tumor is generally larger (in some cases as big as a lime) and may have spread to surrounding tissue, bone, muscle and lymph nodes. 

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Treatment for Oropharyngeal Cancer

Though surgery remains an option, combining radiation and chemotherapy often appears to be just as effective as surgery alone. Post-treatment, patients must be regularly screened for life because these cancers often show up later in different sites.

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Request an Appointment

For more information about treatment for oropharyngeal cancer in Orlando, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

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