Throat Cancers

Deciding on a Treatment Plan


Before starting treatment, your doctor will make sure that the following steps are completed.

Pretreatment evaluation

  • A full history and physical examination, including a complete head and neck exam (mirror and fiberoptic exam if needed)
  • An evaluation by the members of a head and neck cancer team
  • A biopsy of the primary site or FNA of the neck to confirm a diagnosis of cancer
  • Testing for HPV
  • Imaging of the lungs to check for spread, if needed
  • Imaging of the primary tumor and the neck with CT and/or MRI
  • Maybe a PET-CT for advanced cancers
  • A dental evaluation, with or without jaw X-rays
  • Nutrition, speech and swallowing evaluation and maybe a hearing evaluation
  • Examination under anesthesia with endoscopy if needed
  • Pretreatment medical clearance and evaluation of medical conditions

Then your doctor will recommend a course of treatment for you, depending on a number of factors. Like with all cancers in the head and neck, there are three general therapeutic options to consider:

The treatment recommendations for throat cancers can vary by subsite, so see the article about your particular type of cancer for more information.



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