Comprehensive Cancer Centers wishes the inspirational ESPN’s Dick Vitale the best as he works through his six-week course of throat cancer radiation treatments.
As big supporters of college basketball through partnerships with Coaches vs. Cancer, the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers are fans of ESPN’s basketball analyst and personality, Dick Vitale. The team is grateful for his advocacy for cancer patients, as part of Coaches vs. Cancer and being a cancer survivor himself. Comprehensive recently learned that Vitale, who had just overcome lymphoma, has also been diagnosed with vocal cord cancer.
Comprehensive sends its best wishes to Vitale, who is set to begin six weeks of radiation treatment to treat the disease. As with his past cancer journeys, Comprehensive is glad to hear that Vitale plans to continue his efforts to educate and inspire others by sharing news about his treatment and road back to the broadcaster’s booth.
For those interested in learning more about his vocal cancer and cancers of the throat, Comprehensive has the following information available to help inform them about the disease, along with ways to reduce risk and treat the cancer, should it present:
What is Throat Cancer and How is it Treated by Comprehensive Cancer Centers?
Throat cancer, also known as laryngeal cancer or pharyngeal cancer, refers to the abnormal growth of cells in the throat, specifically in the voice box (larynx), pharynx (the hollow tube that runs from the back of the nose to the top of the windpipe and esophagus), or tonsils. It is a type of head and neck cancer.
Throat cancer can develop in different parts of the throat and may involve various types of cells, such as squamous cells (squamous cell carcinoma), which are the most common type of throat cancer. Risk factors for throat cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), exposure to certain chemicals or substances, and a weakened immune system.
Early detection and prompt treatment can improve the chances of successful outcomes. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience persistent symptoms or have concerns about throat cancer. To ensure an early diagnosis, symptoms of throat cancer that should be looked out for may include:
- Persistent hoarseness or voice changes
- Sore throat or persistent cough
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Lump or mass in the neck or throat
- Ear pain
- Weight loss
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
If throat cancer is suspected, your Comprehensive Cancer Centers oncologist may perform various diagnostic tests, such as a physical examination, endoscopy, biopsy, imaging scans (CT scan, MRI, PET scan), or other specialized tests to determine the extent and stage of the cancer.
Treatment for throat cancer depends on the stage, location, and other factors but may involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy. The treatment plan is tailored to each individual case, with team members at Comprehensive working in unison.
How Can You Reduce Risks for Throat Cancer?
Reducing the risks for throat cancer involves adopting certain lifestyle changes and best practices. Here are some measures that can help lower the risk:
- Avoid tobacco: The most important step is to avoid all forms of tobacco, including smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes as well as using smokeless tobacco products. Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for throat cancer.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of throat cancer. It is advisable to moderate alcohol intake or avoid it altogether. For men, limiting alcohol to two drinks per day, and for women, one drink per day, is generally recommended.
- Practice safe sex and get vaccinated: Infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with an increased risk of throat cancer. Practicing safe sex and getting vaccinated against HPV can help reduce the risk of HPV-related throat cancer.
- Eat a healthy diet: Maintain a balanced and healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can support a healthy immune system and reduce the risk of cancer.
- Protect against workplace hazards: If you work in an environment where you are exposed to certain chemicals or substances linked to throat cancer, follow safety guidelines and use appropriate protective measures, such as masks or respirators.
- Maintain oral hygiene: Good oral hygiene, including regular dental check-ups, brushing teeth twice a day, and flossing, can help maintain a healthy mouth and reduce the risk of throat cancer.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help keep the throat moist and reduce irritation.
- Know your risk factors: Be aware of the risk factors associated with throat cancer, such as a family history of the disease or a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you have specific risk factors, discuss them with your healthcare provider and consider appropriate screening or preventive measures. Comprehensive offers cancer genetic counseling services (LINK 4), which can identify these risks in advance of issues presenting.
It’s important to note that although these steps can help reduce the risk of vocal cord/throat cancer, they do not guarantee complete prevention. Regular screenings, such as dental and medical check-ups, can aid in the early detection of any potential issues. If you have concerns about throat cancer or specific risk factors, consult with a healthcare professional, ideally your own primary care physician, for personalized advice. If throat cancer does present, be sure to insist on Comprehensive Cancer Centers for your oncology care.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
And if you, or a loved one, requires care for throat cancer, you can schedule an appointment to learn more about treatment options available at Comprehensive Cancer Center by calling 702-952-3350.
The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.