Throat cancer patient with arms folded

Throat cancer

The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on July 14, 2021.

Throat cancer requires expert care.
We’re here to help.

Throat cancer develops when abnormal cells grow out of control in the throat, larynx (voice box) or tonsils and form tumors. Although incidence and mortality rates for this type of cancer have declined over the past few decades, throat cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are on the rise, particularly among men.

Experts hope increased awareness of throat cancer’s link to HPV, and new and innovative treatment options, will help more patients survive the disease and improve their quality of life. Flexible robotic surgery, for example, is a minimally invasive treatment option that may lead to a quicker recovery for some head and neck cancer patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also has approved immunotherapy drugs, such as checkpoint inhibitors, to treat some cases of advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. These are among the array of treatment options available to throat cancer patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), where multidisciplinary teams of cancer experts work together to tailor personalized treatment plans to the needs of each patient.

What you should know after a throat cancer diagnosis

Throat cancer treatment options

close up of doctor faces while performing surgery

Surgery is the first-line treatment for early-stage throat cancers, while surgery may be combined with radiation therapy, chemotherapy and/or other treatments in addressing advanced-state or recurrent disease. Recent advances have also made precision medicine options such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy available to some throat cancer patients. Your multidisciplinary team of doctors and clinicians at CTCA® will answer your questions and recommend treatment options based on your unique diagnosis. Common treatment options for throat cancer include:

Surgical options include vocal cord stripping, laser surgery, laryngectomy and reconstructive procedures.

Anti-cancer drugs may be administered after surgery, to kill remaining microscopic tumor cells, or as a first-line treatment for advanced throat cancer.

Radiation therapy
Like surgery, radiation therapy may be a first-line treatment for early-stage disease, or it may be used with chemotherapy after surgery to treat advanced-stage cancers.

Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy drugs approved to treat throat cancer typically target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein, which helps cancer cells grow and divide.

Checkpoint inhibitors are a specific type of immunotherapy drug approved to treat certain types of throat cancer.

Learn more about treatments for throat cancer

​Supportive care

Many common treatments for throat cancer, including surgery and chemotherapy, often cause side effects that may impact your quality of life, such as pain, insomnia and malnutrition. Our whole-person care model recognizes that supporting your quality of life is critical to your recovery and overall well-being. Each patient’s personalized treatment plan includes a range of supportive care services designed to help manage disease- and treatment-related side effects, to reduce the risk of treatment delays and help the patient get back to life. Therapies for throat cancer patients may include:


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


​Oncology rehabilitation

​Oncology rehabilitation includes a wide range of therapies designed to help you build strength and endurance.

Learn more
Christine Bray

Christine B.

Ovarian Cancer

"Today, with my CTCA care team by my side, I am more hopeful than ever about the road ahead. The genomic testing performed at CTCA assisted my doctors in prescribing the appropriate medication, and I will continue to take it for as long as I can."



New research

Offering clinical trials on new and emerging cancer treatment options.

View our clinical trials

What’s your risk?

Assess your cancer risk and take control

Assess your cancer risk

Insurance plans

We accept a wide range of insurance plans.

Verify your insurance