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Throat Cancer Treatment and Radiation 

Throat cancer is usually caused when cancer cells develop and grow within tissues lining the throat. This can be a very serious form of cancer and a number of important treatment options have been developed to try to address this disease and cure it if at all possible. We will discuss a type of treatment called throat cancer radiation which uses radiation to kill cancer cells. The expected benefits of this kind of treatment as well as common side effects will also be discussed. 


Throat cancer radiation may be an effective alternative to surgical procedures which are designed to remove all traces of cancer from the throat.  However this type of procedure can be very invasive and entail the removal of some critical parts of the throat such as the vocal cords.  This can certainly affect things like speech. 


Radiation therapy may provide a way to attack the cancer cells directly without the need for surgical removal.  In the case of external radiation therapy, strong beams of radioactive energy may be directed at the source of the cancer.  Modern techniques are designed to help direct the radioactive beam only where necessary and minimize the exposure to healthy tissue. 


If the cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, throat cancer radiation may be the only treatment necessary to provide the patient with a complete recovery.  It can often completely eliminate the cancerous tissue and kill any remaining cells in the area.  And it can do so with minimal impact to other healthy cells. 


Throat cancer radiation may entail the use of external radiation therapy.  In this case a sophisticated machine is used to direct a precise beam of radioactive energy where needed.  It may rely of special types of beams to maximize the damage to the cancer cells and minimize the impact to healthy cells. 


Another type of radiation therapy may involve the placement of radioactive pellets directly into the affected areas for a given period of time.  In this way, they can receive appropriate dosages of radiation while still limiting the impact to nearby healthy tissue. 


For external radiation therapy, some side effects should be expected.  Usually the skin can appear to be inflamed or irritated.  Application of a moisturizing crème and avoidance of sunlight to these areas can improve this problem. 


The use of this treatment may rob the body of some nutrients.  It may therefore cause patients to experience severe fatigue and sluggishness.  This condition tends to be temporary and goes away following treatment. 


A typical course of treatment may last five to seven days.  The goal is to provide repeated exposures of radiation to the affected area.  It may use smaller dosages of radiation over a longer period of time.  This can still be very effective in killing cancer cells but it can still give the body time to heal itself and gain strength. 


Most courses of treatment involving radiation are done over several visits like this.  But as indicated earlier, this type of treatment may have some attractive advantages over surgical techniques to help save functions like talking, swallowing, etc. and still fight the cancer effectively.