Every year in the UK, 13,500 people will be diagnosed with a throat cancer. Sadly 4,500 of them will lose their lives to it.
What is Throat Cancer?
Throat cancer is a series of several different types of cancer which can affect the throat, mouth, neck and chest. We refer to these as throat cancers, but medically they are known by other names that you may hear from doctors, nurses and researchers: oropharyngeal cancer, head and neck cancer, oral cancer, and mouth cancer.
Is throat cancer hard to treat?
Cancer Research UK classifies throat cancer as a hard to treat cancer. The neck area carries especially important nerve ends, veins and the spinal cord, which if damaged during surgery to remove cancerous cells can affect a persons hearing, their ability to speak, swallow and eat properly. Their sight, their sense of smell or even their capability to breath unaided can also be affected.
What impact does having a throat cancer have on individuals and their loved ones?
Firstly, there is the shock at being diagnosed with cancer and associated worry and upset of knowing that not everybody survives.
Second is the treatment itself. Treatment can include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or a combination of all these. It is a gruelling and draining process often over months and in some cases years.
Even when a patient survives throat cancer they can experience many ongoing side effects such as hair loss, nausea, weakened immune system, diarrhoea and constipation, mouth ulcers, constant fatigue, tissue damage, saliva gland damage and mucositis (inflamed and ulcerated lining from the mouth to the throat, making it extremely difficult to eat or drink), and dental and hearing problems.
Some lose their voice boxes and others the ability to eat solid foods, relying heavily on permanent feeding tubes. Many of these side effects are life changing and can last for months, years or are sadly permanent.
It is a cancer which causes a world of hurt.
If diagnosed early, can a person survive throat cancer?
Yes, if detected early enough, survival rates exceed 90%. It is also regarded and one of the world’s most preventable cancers.
Generally taking care of ones health, eating a good diet, avoiding smoking and drinking excessively should lower your risk of developing a throat cancer.
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is now know to have a contribution rate of 65% towards the causing of some throat cancer and if a person is vaccinated at a young age, this will prevent them from developing HPV related throat cancers in adulthood.
What is the idea behind your project and how does it help people?
We want to create an awareness campaign around throat cancers to include posters, bill boards, television and radio advertising, all designed to highlight throat cancers and their impact on individuals lives and or their loved ones who have to support them.
We want to encourage people to understand and highlight how to take better care of their throats and consider HPV vaccination for their children to protect them from HPV related throat cancers.
The survival rates for throat cancer can be good if caught early enough, but too often people are not aware of the symptoms to be aware of to catch the disease early enough. Our series of campaigns will help to highlight key potential indicators and encourage people to go visit their doctors to get themselves checked out early if necessary and thus create better survival rates.
Why is it so important to do this?
The rates of throat cancers continue to increase dramatically year after year. It is important that people who are affected have up to date information available to help them understand and cope with their diagnosis. Information on throat cancers and their impact is still sadly lacking.
Thank you for supporting our campaign and helping us to save more lives.
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