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 can also show if cancer is interfering with swallowing.
Barium swallow for head and neck cancer
A barium swallow test can show any irregularities in the larynx, pharynx, mouth and surrounding areas, and can often detect small, early head and neck tumors.