The following procedure may be performed to diagnose soft palate cancer:
- Soft palate assessment. The doctor will examine the soft palate as well as other areas of the throat using a small camera.
- Biopsy. A small sample of affected tissue is removed and sent for testing at the laboratory by a pathologist to check for cancer signs.
- Diagnostic imaging. Computerized Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) may be performed to determine the size, of cancer and whether it has spread to other areas of the body.
The treatment will be based on the patient’s treatment choice and overall health as well as the size of the tumor and where it is located. The following treatments are available:
- Surgery. The tumor can be surgically removed on an outpatient basis if it’s still small in size but if it’s large, extensive surgery is required. Surgery is used to remove the tumor as much as possible. However, if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the neck, lymph node removal is required.
- Radiation therapy. Utilizes a powerful energy beam through X-rays and protons destroying cancer. It can be done alone or in combination with chemotherapy or surgery.
- Chemotherapy. Medications are used to kill cancer cells and it can be used in combination with radiation therapy.
- Reconstructive surgery. This procedure may be done based on the cancer’s location and if it has spread to other areas.
- Rehabilitative services. After surgery or radiation therapy, the patient may require to undergo rehabilitation of speech, swallowing, physical or occupational therapy and dietary adjustments.