Hypopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the hypopharynx, the bottom part of the pharynx – the throat. Most hypopharyngeal cancers form in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells lining the inside of the hypopharynx. The hypopharynx has three different areas. Cancer may be found in one or more of these areas.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that about 2,500 cases of hypopharyngeal cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.
Hypopharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. Approximately 66,920 cases of head and neck cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2023, and about 15,400 people will die from the cancers, according to the NCI.
Risk factors for hypopharyngeal cancer include the following:
- Smoking tobacco.
- Chewing tobacco.
- Heavy alcohol use.
- Eating a diet without enough nutrients.
- Having Plummer-Vinson syndrome.
Source: National Cancer Institute