At Froedtert Hospital, Head and Neck Cancer Program physicians use an evidence-based approach to provide throat and tonsil cancer care that results in optimal outcomes and best preserves tissue and function.

Throat Cancer Treatment

The throat, or pharynx, is made up of three parts, all of which may be susceptible to cancer. The three parts include:

  • The nasopharynx, the upper part behind the nose
  • The oropharynx or middle part which includes the tonsils, soft palate and base of the tongue
  • The hypopharynx or lower part pharynx

To treat cancer of the pharynx, physicians may recommend radiation therapy, or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Newer, minimally invasive surgical procedures may also be incorporated into the treatment plan. Learn more about treatments for head and neck cancers.

Planning Shortens Treatment, Speeds Recovery

Program team members consider all aspects of treatment when planning the course of care for patients. The goal is to anticipate the possible impact of treatment to a patient’s appearance or to how they eat, breathe, or otherwise function. The treatment team will make referrals to appropriate reconstruction surgery, rehabilitation or other specialists as needed to shorten treatment and speed recovery. Additionally, patients have access to the complete menu of patient support services available through the Clinical Cancer Center.

Throat Cancer - Video FAQ

Becky Massey, MD, head and neck surgical oncologist, explains throat cancer can affect the tonsils, the back of the tongue or the esophagus. 

Throat cancer means a lot of different things to different people. When we talk about throat cancer, we can be talking about cancer in the tonsils, the back of the tongue or even down by the voice box and upper esophagus.

When we do surgery for throat cancer, there's a lot of different things that we can do. Technology in the last several years has allowed us to have laser fibers, telescopes and robotic equipment. Many different advances allow us to do surgery through the mouth. In some cases, surgery can also involve having an incision on the neck — often camouflaged in a skin crease — to allow access to the structures inside the throat with healing that results in a normal appearance afterwards.

Virtual Visits Are Available

Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.

Recognized as High Performing by U.S. News & World Report

Froedtert Hospital is recognized as high performing in three adult specialties and 15 procedures and conditions, including cancer.