Throat Cancer Survival Rate

The throat cancer survival rate is the amount of time the patient survives after receiving the throat cancer diagnosis. Each instance of the disease is also rated with a chance of reoccurrence after the treatment. Because of efforts to detect the disease in its earliest stages combined with advanced treatment methods, the throat cancer survival rate is steadily improving. Information concerning the throat cancer survival rate in each of the five stages of the disease is included below.

Throat Cancer Statistics

In the United States, approximately 24,000 people are diagnosed with throat cancer each year. Throat cancer affects the tissues in the throat including the voice box, and is commonly known as cancer of the larynx. The throat, known as the pharynx, which extends five inches from the base of the neck to the back of the nose, is a muscular tube. At the base of the throat is where the voice box, or larynx, rests. Either the larynx or the pharynx can contract throat cancer, but nearly 50 percent of all incidents of throat cancer occur in the larynx. When cancer affects the vocal cords, the symptoms are experienced in the very early stages of the disease. Diagnosis that is made in the early stages allows treatment to start quickly, which improves the throat cancer survival rate for the patient. Throat cancer that does not directly impact the vocal chords can remain undetected until later stages of the disease. Advanced stages are more difficult to treat, and the patient has a shorter survival period after the diagnosis.


Actual throat cancer causes have not been discovered, but there are some lifestyle choices and environmental factors that can be traced to the disease, including:

  • Tobacco use — Excessive use of cigarettes, cigars, snuff or chewing tobacco has been associated with cancers of the tongue, mouth, throat and voice box.
  • Alcohol abuse — Over-consumption of hard liquors irritates the mouth and throat and can be a cause of cancer.
  • Environmental pollutants — People in the textile, plastics, petroleum, and metalworking industries have a higher incident of mouth and throat cancers because of sustained exposure to paint fumes, wood dust, and various chemicals.
  • Vitamin A deficiency — One common trait of throat cancer patients is a lack of vitamin A in the body. Researchers have not discovered the link between the deficiency and the disease.
  • Human papillomavirus – HPV — People who suffer from this condition are more susceptible to throat cancer.


When the vocal chords are not affected by the throat cancer, symptoms may be undetectable by the patient. When any of the following symptoms are present for sustained periods, throat cancer might be present.

  • Cough that produces blood
  • Neck lymph nodes enlarged enough to feel
  • Persistent cough and bouts with strep throat infections
  • Change in the voice tone or clarity
  • Difficulty in breathing accompanied by a raspy or wheezing sound
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • Swallowing is difficult or painful
  • Neck pain or swelling
  • Noticeable sudden weight loss

Estimated Survival Rates

An individual’s throat cancer survival rate will vary depending on a number of factors, including: overall health condition, age, cancer stages, and the grade of the tumor.

The tumor grade is defined as the TNM, which stands for:

T = Status of Primary tumor
N = Regional lymph nodes
M = Distant Metastases

The medical care received is one of the primary factors in the throat cancer survival rate for the individual. When the oncologist and the surgeon are able to diagnose and treat the cancer effectively, the survival rate is improved.

Patient compliance with the treatment requirements and emotional response to the process will have an impact on the length of their survival. Because of advanced treatment methods, patients in each of the stages and tumor grades have survived the disease and gone on to live productive lives.

Throat Cancer Stages

All cancers are assigned stages of development of the disease to provide a guideline for treatment plans and ways to communicate between medical professionals and patients. Five-year throat cancer survival rates are directly affected by the stage to which the disease has developed.

Stage TNM Description 5 Year Relative Survival Rates
0 Tis/N0/M0 Carcinoma in situ, which means the tumor is localized. The tumor has not penetrated the regional lymph nodes. No distant metastases, which means other areas of the body do not contain cancerous cells. 98%
1 T1/N0/M0 The tumor is less than 1 inch in diameter. Regional lymph nodes do not appear to be involved, and there are no distant metastases. 90%
2 T2/N0/M0 The tumor is between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. Regional lymph nodes remain uninvolved. There is no evidence of distant metastases. 75%
3 T3/N0/M0 The tumor is more than 2 inches in diameter. The regional lymph nodes do not appear to be involved and there are no distant metastases. 60%
T3/N1/M0 The tumor is more than 2 inches in diameter and one lymph node has been affected.
4 Any T/Any N/M1 The tumor has spread to surrounding tissues including the mouth and lips. Multiple lymph nodes are involved on one or both sides of the throat. 30%

Treatment Options for Throat Cancer

  • Chemotherapy – Consistent treatment using drugs that will destroy cancer cells and reduce proliferation. This course of treatment will precede radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy – Various types of high-energy X-ray are used to kill the cancerous cells.
  • Surgery – This procedure is meant to physically remove the tumor and any surrounding tissues that are affected by the cancer.

Males suffer from throat cancer approximately five times more often than females. Adults between the ages of 55 and 65 years are the most common victims. Early diagnosis is the key to treating the disease to improve the throat cancer survival rate for the patient. Treatments in the early stages are less invasive and patients have a higher quality of life after battling the disease.