Otolaryngology Online Journal

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Mini Review - Otolaryngology Online Journal (2024) Volume 13, Issue 7

Understanding Oropharyngeal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Bulat Gepts *

Department of ENT, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Bulat Gepts
Department of ENT, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK
E-mail: geptsbulat@ucl.ac.uk

Received: 29-Dec-2023, Manuscript No. JORL-23- 123739; Editor assigned: 01-Jan-2024, PreQC No. JORL-23- 123739; Reviewed:15-Jan-2024, QC No. JORL-23- 123739; Revised:20-Jan-2024, Manuscript No. JORL-23- 123739 (R); Published:27-Jan-2024, DOI:10.35841/ jorl-13.7.361

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Introduction

Oropharyngeal cancer, a subset of head and neck cancers, affects the tissues in the oropharynx and can significantly impact vital functions like swallowing, speech, and breathing. Understanding the intricacies of its causes, identifying its symptoms, and delving into available treatment options are fundamental in addressing this condition effectively [1].

Several factors contribute to the development of oropharyngeal cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly subtype 16, has emerged as a prominent cause, especially among younger individuals. Additionally, tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption have historically been significant contributors to this cancer. Genetic predisposition and family history can also elevate the risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer [2].

Recognizing the symptoms associated with oropharyngeal cancer is pivotal for early detection. Persistent sore throat or ear pain, difficulty swallowing, changes in voice quality, and unexplained weight loss are common indicators. Diagnosis involves a range of methods including physical examinations, imaging studies, and biopsies to confirm the presence of cancerous cells [3].

The treatment for oropharyngeal cancer depends on several factors, including the cancer's stage, location, and the patient's overall health. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy are primary modalities. Surgical procedures involve removing the tumor and affected tissues, while radiation therapy utilizes high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy aim to kill cancer cells through drugs or target specific abnormalities within them [4].

Surgery is a common treatment method for oropharyngeal cancer, involving various approaches from minimally invasive procedures to extensive operations like neck dissections. The goal is to eradicate the tumor and affected tissues while preserving as much function as possible [5].

Radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with other treatments, aims to eliminate remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy, often used concurrently with radiation or surgery, plays a role in destroying cancer cells throughout the body [6].

Targeted drug therapy is a promising avenue that focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells, disrupting their growth and survival without harming healthy cells [7].

The prognosis for oropharyngeal cancer hinges on several factors, including the stage at diagnosis, the presence of HPV, and the overall health of the individual. Early detection significantly improves treatment outcomes, and advancements in treatment modalities continue to enhance survival rates [8].

Prevention through HPV vaccination, adopting a healthy lifestyle by reducing tobacco and alcohol intake, and regular screenings are pivotal strategies in combating oropharyngeal cancer [9].

Navigating oropharyngeal cancer requires support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and caregivers. Seeking support not only aids in managing the physical aspects but also helps address the emotional and psychological challenges associated with this condition [10].

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