Hypopharyngeal cancer is a disease that occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of the hypopharynx.
The following signs and symptoms might be caused by hypopharyngeal cancer or by other conditions. See your doctor about any of the following symptoms: A lump in the neck Difficulty/pain associated with swallowing Voice changes Ear pain
Tobacco use (smoking or chewing) Excessive use of alcohol Lack of nutrients in the diet Presence of Plummer-Vinson syndrome (a disorder linked to severe, long-term iron deficiency anemia)
In diagnosing hypopharyngeal cancer, your doctor might use exams and procedures including: Endoscopy — This is a procedure during which a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the nose or mouth to check for any unusual conditions. Physical exam —During this exam, the doctor will check for swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and will look down the throat with a small mirror in order to check for any abnormalities. CT scan (also called computed tomography or computerized tomography—This is a scan that involves taking series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The images are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. MRI (also called magnetic resonance imaging)— During the procedure, radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Esophagoscopy— This is a procedure to look inside the esophagus to check for abnormal areas. An esophagoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus. Tissue samples might be taken for biopsy. Bronchoscopy— This procedure is used to look for abnormal areas inside the trachea and large airways of the lung. This is often performed in the operating room . A bronchoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the nose or mouth into the trachea and lungs. Tissue samples might be taken for biopsy. Biopsy—This procedure involves the removal of tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to diagnose the presence or absence of cancer.