What Affects Throat Cancer Survival Rates?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 28 December 2018
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Many different factors affect throat cancer survival rates, but the most important one is how early the cancer is caught. When caught early, throat cancer patients can have up to a 90 percent survival rate; however, this rate can drop to around 50 percent if the cancer is not treated promptly. The survival rates for throat cancer also decreases if it has spread to other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes. Risk factors for developing throat cancer include things such as smoking and poor diet. Patients in good health are generally more likely to survive than those in poor health. Throat cancer survival rates are for a period of five years.

Cancer is a condition that can occur in all humans, whereby the cells in one area of the body continue to grow when they are no longer supposed to. This results in tumors, which are masses that form inside the body and can press on vital organs or body parts. Cancer can be localized to many different parts of the body. Generally, throat cancer can occur in either the larynx or the pharynx. The pharynx can be split into three parts, the nasopharynx, the oropharynx and the hypopharynx, meaning the upper, middle and lower portions of the throat, respectively. The larynx is otherwise known as the voice box.


The main factor affecting throat cancer survival rates is how early during the development of the cancer it is caught. Unfortunately, most throat cancers are caught in a late stage of development, meaning the tumor has either had time to increase in size or spread to other parts of the body.

Another factor that makes speed of identification key in determining throat cancer survival rates is the likelihood it has spread to other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes. Cancer that has gone unchecked for longer is more likely to have spread to the lymph nodes, and this takes the survival rate down from 90 percent to around 50 or 60 percent. The medical term used for a cancer that has spread is “metastasized.”

Early identification of the condition is of utmost importance. Symptoms of throat cancer include coughing up blood, unusual breathing sounds, persistent sore throat, unplanned weight loss and difficulty swallowing. Patients who have a bad diet or smoke are more likely to develop throat cancer.



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