Traditionally, surgery and/or radiation therapy have been the standards for treatment of oropharyngeal cancers, but these treatments are sometimes complicated by failure to control the spread of disease and significant long-term functional deficits.

Some doctors suggest that a combination of multi-agent chemotherapy and radiation has become the standard of care for the management of patients with late-stage disease. This throat cancer treatment emphasizes organ preservation and function.

Learn More About Head and Neck Cancers

What Makes up the Oropharynx?

The oropharynx is the middle part of the throat behind the mouth and includes the:

  • Back third of the tongue
  • Soft palate
  • Side and back walls of the throat and the tonsils

The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea and esophagus. Air and food pass through the pharynx on the way to the esophagus.

Most oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that develop in the thin, flat cells that line the inside of the oropharynx.

New Treatments for Oropharyngeal Cancer

New throat cancer treatments are under development that include various biological therapies, such as:

  • Vaccines
  • Growth factor-receptor antagonists
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors
  • Oncolytic viruses
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Transoral robotic assisted surgery with C02 laser (TORS-L)

Robotic-assisted surgery is available for patients who qualify.

Why Choose Memorial Hermann for Treatment?

Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers are accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ (ACoS) Commission on Cancer (CoC). This rare distinction is given to cancer programs that uphold the highest standard of care for patients. When you choose Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers for your cancer treatment, you can rest assured you will receive the best possible care delivered by a compassionate team of caregivers in a calm, healing environment.

Contact Us

For more information about Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers, including how to get connected to our support services or an affiliated provider, please call (833) 770-7771 or fill out the form below to be connected to one of our Oncology Nurse Navigators.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please read our Frequently Asked Questions.

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