NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
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throat cancer (throte KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Throat cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of throat cancer. Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells that look like fish scales). Also called pharyngeal cancer.