A prognosis gives patients an estimated outcome that they can expect from their disease and treatment based on what others have experienced.
Each case and each patient is very different, so a prognosis is usually just an average based on available research. A prognosis generally talks about how long a person might live and what their quality of life will be like.
Throat cancer prognosis statistics
Studies show that in the case of throat cancer 90% of cases are curable if they are diagnosed in the early stages. That percentage drops to 50% – 60% if the cancer has spread to surrounding areas. If it has spread even further to lymph nodes then it is rarely curable.
Many cases of throat cancer are attributed to the use of tobacco and alcohol, so limiting the use of these substances may decrease a person’s chance of developing throat cancer.
Stage 1 throat cancer usually first effects the vocal cords and then the voice box. The tumor is small, usually measuring no more than an inch. Stage 2 is similar, but the tumor has grown to up to three inches. Stage 1 and 2 throat cancer is usually relatively easy to treat with surgery to removal of the tumor. Stage 3 and 4 throat cancers are much more serious.
In these cases the tumor has spread to the surrounding areas and perhaps even to lymph nodes. To try to treat these later stages of throat cancer, radiation and chemotherapy are usually used in addition to surgery.
Throat Cancer Prognosis
Stage 1 and 2 throat cancers might cause a patient to have a hoarse voice or to experience pain and swelling in their neck. Once they have surgery and the tumor is successfully removed that should be the end of their symptoms.
Unfortunately, with later stages of throat cancer larger tumors and other tissues need to be removed. This can lead to additional complications with speaking, eating and breathing. More reconstructive surgeries may be needed to help improve these functions or for cosmetic reasons.
Some patients will also need physical therapy or speech therapy to learn how to move their mouths properly to eat and speak normally. If a patient has a laryngectomy (removal of some or all of the larynx) they may need to use an electronic device to help them speak.
As mentioned, with early diagnosis throat cancer has a 90% cure rate. Throat cancer in stage 2 has a 75% cure rate, stage 3 a 60% cure rate, and stage 4 a 30% cure rate. As with any prognosis other factors such as the patient’s overall health, their lifestyle choices, and the location of the tumor, can affect the outcome of this disease.