Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Barium swallow for head and neck cancer

Barium swallow for head and neck cancer

A barium swallow test may show irregularities in the larynx, pharynx, mouth and surrounding areas, and is often used to detect small, early head and neck tumors.

What is a barium swallow?

Also known as an "upper GI series," a barium swallow involves drinking a chalky drink made of a barium-based solution, which allows cancer cells in the esophagus and upper part of the digestive system to be seen with an X-ray. This imaging technique may also detect whether the cancer is interfering with swallowing.