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You’ve been hoarse for weeks and feel like you’re always clearing your throat. Tests show there’s something going on in your throat. And it could be cancer.

When you hear you might have throat cancer, it means there could be cancer in one or more parts of your throat. This can affect the way you speak and swallow. It can also move to other parts of your body.

This can be a lot to take in. And you might have a million questions about what comes next. At Cleveland Clinic, we’ll walk you through each test, treatment option and follow-up appointment. No matter what comes up throughout your journey, we’ll be by your side — guiding and supporting you.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Throat Cancer Care?

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Comprehensive treatment:

We tailor your care to your specific needs. Your throat cancer care plan is customized to your situation from diagnosis and treatment to follow-up care. And when you need experts from other specialties, we work as a large team to make sure your needs are met. Meet our team.

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Caring approach:

When you hear the word “cancer,” many different emotions might swirl through your mind. Our compassionate providers will be there to support you throughout the entire process. We keep you at the center of your care and help you understand each test and treatment that happens.

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Demonstrated expertise:

Cleveland Clinic’s head and neck providers are nationally known for their research into treatment that eliminates or reduces cancer while preserving quality of life.

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Virtual visits:

We offer virtual visits for some appointments. You’ll get the same high-quality, empathetic care at your convenience and without leaving home. All you need for virtual visits are an internet connection and your smartphone, laptop or tablet.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Throat Cancer at Cleveland Clinic

Starting down the road of diagnosing throat cancer can leave you feeling anxious and maybe a little worried. Our team of providers works with you to ease your fears. We approach all parts of your care with compassion and empathy. We know you probably have a lot of questions — we’re here to help find some answers.

Types of Throat Cancer

Not all throat cancers are the same. During the diagnosis process, your provider will work to figure out what type you have. The two most common throat cancers are laryngeal cancer and oropharyngeal cancer. Laryngeal cancer affects your larynx (voice box). Oropharyngeal cancer affects the middle part of your throat. Other throat cancer types are:

What to expect at your first visit

Your first visit with us is an opportunity for us to get to know you. We’ll ask a lot of questions and take the time to hear what you’ve been experiencing. Be ready to talk about symptoms and how you’ve been feeling. Throat cancer symptoms aren’t always obvious. And some throat cancer symptoms are like other less serious issues. So, we’ll start by asking about what symptoms you’ve noticed and how they’ve made you feel.

We’ll also go over your medical history and give you a physical exam so we can check your overall health. We may do blood tests, imaging tests and other tests that let us look inside your throat. Some of these tests might include:

Blood tests

Imaging tests

The goal of doing these tests is to get as much information as possible. To help us look inside your throat, we do:

  • Laryngoscopy: This test involves putting a thin, flexible tube into your throat. The tube has a lighted lens and video camera that lets us get a close look at your larynx.
  • Endoscopic biopsy: We may do this test to get tissue samples for a pathologist to look at under a microscope.

Second Opinions for Throat Cancer at Cleveland Clinic

A second opinion is your opportunity to talk with a team of expert providers who specialize in diagnosing and treating throat cancer.

At Cleveland Clinic, we encourage second opinions, either in person or virtually. Our team will take time to understand your situation. We’ll answer your questions, explain treatment options and talk about how we can help you manage throat cancer’s challenges.

Getting a second opinion can help you feel confident you’ve chosen a care team that’s focused on your specific needs and will provide comprehensive, compassionate care.

Meet Our Throat Cancer Team

When it comes to care, we believe in working as a team to make sure you get what you need. You’ll work with providers from different specialties throughout testing and treatment. This lets us personalize your care plan. Some of the providers you might work with include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Throat Cancer at Cleveland Clinic

We’ll work with you to develop a comprehensive and effective treatment plan that matches your needs and has the least impact on your life. You may have:


Depending on the type of throat cancer, your team may do surgery to remove it. Surgeries may include:

  • Transoral robotic surgery to help surgeons remove tumors in hard-to-reach areas at the back of your throat.
  • Reconstructive surgery to restore the way your mouth looks or works.

Radiation therapy

Your provider may use radiation therapy to eliminate smaller throat cancer tumors. They may also use radiation therapy before surgery to shrink tumors and after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.


Your care team may use chemotherapy before or after surgery. They may combine radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Targeted therapy

This treatment targets the proteins in cancer cells that help the cells grow and multiply.


Your immune system blocks germs and other intruders like cancer cells. Immunotherapy boosts your immune system’s ability to kill cancer.

Follow-Up Care

Throat cancer treatment at Cleveland Clinic continues long after surgery and other steps to get rid of your cancer. We continue to support you throughout your follow-up appointments and help coordinate any additional care you might need. For example, if surgery to remove tumors affects your ability to speak and eat, you’ll work with specialists that will help you manage any issues.

Taking the Next Step

If you have throat cancer, you want a treatment plan that’s personalized to you and your needs. You also want to work with healthcare providers who place a priority on comprehensive, compassionate care. At Cleveland Clinic, we’ll take the time to understand your situation, answer your questions and develop effective treatment plans. Throughout your entire journey, we’ll be by your side — from testing and learning about treatment options to follow-up care and beyond.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s throat cancer experts is easy. We’ll listen to your concerns and help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s throat cancer experts is easy. We’ll listen to your concerns and help you get the care you need.

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Billing & Insurance

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.


Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.

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Learning you have cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, you're a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you.

At Cleveland Clinic, survivorship care is one part of your journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want you to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.

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