What Is Throat Cancer?

Throat (oropharyngeal) cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissue of oropharynx. The oropharynx is the middle part of the throat which includes the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the soft palate and the walls of the pharynx.

Cancer of the oropharynx is highly curable. The outlook for a cure is superior for patients who have the type of throat cancer that is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). The Northwestern Medicine Head and Neck Program offers comprehensive care for throat cancer which includes:

  • Experienced surgeons with recognized expertise in robotic surgery
  • Management of HPV-associated tonsil and base of tongue cancer
  • Access to leading-edge treatments, novel therapies and clinical trials