About this disease

What it is about

The so-called oropharyngeal carcinomas summarize the cancers that develop in the area of the neck between the epiglottis and the soft palate. One of the most important risk factors for the development, besides smoking and the consumption of alcohol, is an infection with the so-called human papilloma viruses (HPV). HPV-related tumors in particular are becoming increasingly common and occur mainly in younger patients. Overall, the tonsils are most frequently affected by oropharyngeal carcinoma.

Symptoms and consequences

Cancer of the mouth and throat can cause a foreign body sensation in the mouth and throat. The voice may change or there may be coughing and problems swallowing. The swallowing problems are mainly that certain foods cannot be swallowed. Swallowing itself hurts or sufferers choke more often. In addition, pain may occur in the area of the mouth, jaw, throat or ears. Bad breath also occurs occasionally. In the course of the disease, non-specific complaints such as weakness or weight loss occur.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

First, the oral cavity and pharynx must be examined by a specialist in otorhinolaryngology. By taking a tissue sample, it can be determined whether the cancer is cancer and whether it is caused by HPV. In addition to imaging the lymph nodes in the neck, the entire body is searched for offshoots of the tumor. In this way, the stage of the disease can be determined and subsequently a suitable treatment concept can be established.


Depending on the stage of the cancer, various treatment options may be considered. If the tumor is small, it can usually be operated on. If the risks are too high, because the tumor is larger and a lot of tissue would have to be removed, radiation therapy is advised, if necessary in combination with chemotherapy. However, if the cancer has already spread and there are offshoots in the body, a system therapy is the treatment of choice. This usually consists of chemotherapy, antibody therapy or immunotherapy.

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