Home ›› Cancer Programs ›› Head, Neck & Skin Cancer ›› Conditions ›› Hypopharyngeal Cancer

What is Hypopharyngeal Cancer?

The Florida Hospital Cancer Institute offers the latest and most effective treatment for hypopharyngeal cancer in Orlando. Hypopharyngeal cancer is a condition that occurs when malignant (cancerous) cells develop in the tissues of hypopharynx. The hypopharynx is located at the bottom of the pharynx (the throat), which acts as the passageway for air and food traveling either to the voice box or the esophagus. For more information about treatment for hypopharyngeal cancer in Orlando, or to schedule an appointment, call (407) 303-1700 or click here to fill out an online assistance form.

Symptoms of Hypopharyngeal Cancer

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. 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
Back to Top

Risk Factors of Hypopharyngeal Cancer

  • Smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables.
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection

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

Back to Top

Tests to Diagnose Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Depending on the size, location and stage of the cancer, your physician may recommend the following tests:

  • Physical exam and history: Your physician will perform an initial exam of your body to check general signs of health, including signs of disease in the vulva (such as lumps or anything unusual). 
  • Biopsy: During this procedure, a sample of cells or tissue is removed from the vulva in order to be analyzed under a microscope by a pathologist for signs of cancer. 
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A CT scan takes a series of very detailed pictures of the inside of the body from different angles. 
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This procedure uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed images of the inside of the body. 
  • Esophagoscopy — During this procedure, your physician will look inside your esophagus to check for abnormalities. To do this, your physician will insert an esophagoscope (a thin, lighted tube) through your mouth and down your throat into your esophagus. Tissue samples will then be taken for biopsy under a general anesthetic or heavy sedation. 
  • ​Bronchoscopy — During this procedure, your physician will look for abnormalities inside your trachea and the large airways of your lungs. To perform a bronchoscopy, your physician will insert a bronchoscope through your nose or mouth into your trachea and lungs. Tissue samples may then be taken for biopsy under a general anesthetic or heavy sedation.  
Back to Top

Treatment for Hypopharyngeal 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.

Back to Top

Request an Appointment

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

Back to Top