What is it?

Oropharyngeal cancer is a malignancy of the middle part of the throat (pharynx). It is usually squamous cell carcinoma- a type of cancer that develops from the flat surface cells lining the mouth and throat. Risk factors for oropharyngeal cancer include smoking, alcohol use, history of neck and head cancer, radiation therapy to the head and neck, and being infected with HPV.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms may include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, trouble opening the mouth and moving the tongue, weight loss, voice changes, ear pain, lump in the neck, coughing up blood and a white patch on the tongue.


Diagnosis of oropharyngeal cancer is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include a biopsy, and imaging tests.


Treatment depends on the stage of cancer, its location and the patient’s age. It may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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