Carcinoma of the oropharynx (middle part of the throat) is usually a squamous cell carcinoma. Heavy smoking and poor oral hygiene are the major risk factors of the oropharyngeal carcinoma. Symptoms of the oropharyngeal carcinoma include persistent sore throat, foreign body sensation or lump in the throat, enlargement of the neck lymph nodes and change of voice. There may be difficulty in swallowing & breathing, earache and weight loss.
Staging of the carcinoma of the oropharynx is done as follows:
Diagnosis of the oropharyngeal carcinoma is confirmed by laryngoscopy and biopsy.
Carcinoma of the nasopharynx (upper part of the throat) is mostly a squamous cell carcinoma. It usually originates in the fossa of Rosenmuller. Risk factors of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma include Epstein Barr Virus infection and deficiency of vitamin C.
Carcinoma of the nasopharynx usually presents with a lump in the nasopharynx that may lead to the nasal obstruction, nasal voice, dysphagia, epistaxis, toothache, earache and hearing loss. There may be involvement of the cervical and the retropharyngeal lymph nodes. The tumour may invade foramen lacerum involving trigeminal and facial nerves. Carcinoma of the nasopharynx may spread posteriolaterally to the parapharyngeal space, involving the 9th, 10th, 11th and the 12th cranial nerves along with mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve. The nasopharyngeal carcinoma may invade inferiorly into the oropharynx, superiorly into the base of skull, laterally into the Eustachian tubes and anteriorly into the nasal cavity.
Staging of the carcinoma of the nasopharynx is done as follows:
Procedures used to diagnose carcinoma of the nasopharynx include ENT examination, X-rays, nasopharyngoscopy and biopsy.
Carcinoma of the hypopharynx (lower part of the throat) is a squamous cell carcinoma that originates in the pyriform sinus, posterior pharyngeal wall and postcricoid area. Risk factors of the hypopharyngeal carcinoma include chronic smoking, chronic alcoholism and iron deficiency anaemia.
Carcinoma of the hypopharynx remains asymptomatic in early stages. In later stages, a mass in the neck may be noticed as the first sign of hypopharyngeal carcinoma. Other symptoms include foreign body sensation in the throat, change of voice, pain in the throat, dysphagia, bloodstained saliva and weight loss. The hypopharyngeal carcinoma usually spreads to the larynx, thyroid cartilage and the oesophagus by submucosal infiltration.
Staging of the carcinoma of the hypopharynx is done as follows:
Procedures used in the diagnosis of the hypopharyngeal carcinoma includes laryngoscopy, CT scan and biopsy.
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