Surgery for pharyngeal cancer
Early pharyngeal cancers are often treated with radiation therapy. Surgery may be an option in some cases depending on where the cancer is located in the throat (pharynx). If the cancer is large or advanced and surgery is an option, the surgery is more likely to be extensive and may require reconstruction. It is also often followed with radiation therapy and possibly chemotherapy.
Some tumours can be removed through the mouth, but you may have open surgery for some advanced cancers. Open surgery is done through a cut in the neck, which may involve the jaw.
Different types of pharyngeal surgery include:
- pharyngectomy – removes part or all of the pharynx
- laryngopharyngectomy – removes all of the larynx and part of the pharynx. This surgery is rare and your treatment team will provide more information about the procedure.
A/Prof David Wiesenfeld, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Director, Head and Neck Tumour Stream, The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Melbourne Health, VIC; Alan Bradbury, Consumer; Dr Ben Britton, Senior Clinical and Health Psychologist, John Hunter Hospital, NSW; Dr Madhavi Chilkuri, Radiation Oncologist, Townsville Cancer Centre, The Townsville Hospital, QLD; Jedda Clune, Senior Dietitian (Head and Neck Cancer), Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Dr Fiona Day, Staff Specialist, Medical Oncology, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, The University of Newcastle, NSW; Dr Ben Dixon, ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC; Emma Hair, Senior Social Worker, St George Hospital, NSW; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Kara Hutchinson, Head and Neck Cancer Nurse Coordinator, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC; A/Prof Julia Maclean, Speech Pathologist, St George Hospital, NSW; Prof Jane Ussher, Chair, Women’s Health Psychology, Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, NSW; Andrea Wong, Physiotherapist, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.