Hypopharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer, with an incidence rate second only to oral cavity cancer and oropharyngeal cancer. Because the symptoms are similar to those of ear, nose and throat diseases, it is easy to ignore or misdiagnose, so it is often discovered at a late stage.
We take you through the symptoms, causes, treatments, sequelae and survival rates of hypopharyngeal cancer.
Where is the hypopharynx?
The pharynx is a cone-shaped channel area that connects the oral cavity, nasal cavity, esophagus and trachea. It is located at the intersection of the digestive tract and respiratory tract and is an important organ for sound production. In clinical medicine, the pharynx is usually divided into three parts according to the corresponding parts in the front:
- The hypopharynx, also known as the laryngopharynx, is located at the junction of the oral cavity, trachea and esophagus. It is composed of three structures: the pyriform fossa, the posterior pharyngeal wall and the posterior cricoid area. Studies have pointed out that about 70% of hypopharyngeal cancers grow in the pear fossa area.
What is hypopharyngeal cancer?
Hypopharyngeal Cancer, as the name suggests, is a malignant tumor originating in the hypopharynx. It mostly occurs in men aged 55 to 70. The main causes include smoking, excessive drinking and chewing betel nut. These bad habits may also cause esophageal cancer. or other types of head and neck cancer, so it often occurs at the same time as hypopharyngeal cancer.
Studies have pointed out that about 20% of patients with hypopharyngeal cancer also suffer from esophageal cancer, and the correlation is extremely high; in addition, human papillomavirus is also one of the possible causes of hypopharyngeal cancer, but in head and neck cancer, human papillomavirus The association with oropharyngeal cancer is even higher.
There are 5 types of head and neck cancer, the causes of which are related to tobacco and alcohol
Depending on the primary location of the cancer, head and neck cancer can be divided into oral cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, hypopharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer. (Extended reading: What is head and neck cancer? What are its symptoms? Quickly understand the types, causes and treatments of head and neck cancer)
According to statistics, more than 75% of head and neck cancer patients have the habit of smoking and drinking. Therefore, smoking and drinking have been proven to cause head and neck cancer.
- Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day is twice as likely to develop head and neck cancer as a non-smoker.
- Drinking alcohol every day is about 2 to 3 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer than those who do not drink.
- Smoking and drinking every day for 20 years increases the chance of developing head and neck cancer by nearly 40 times
In addition, chewing betel nut has also been confirmed to be related to the occurrence of oral cancer. Therefore, reducing smoking, drinking, and chewing betel nut is the first step to avoid head and neck cancer.