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Pharynx cancer

Squamous epithelial carcinoma is the main group of pharynx cancer. Adenocarcinomas, sarcomas, and other tumor types also occur. 

The pharynx is separated into three levels:

  1. nasopharynx
  2. oropharynx
    • tonsils
    • base of the tongue
    • softe palate with uvula
  3. hypopharynx
    • piriform sinus
    • posterior pharynx wall
    • anterior pharynx wall (post cricoid)

Treatment for pharynx cancer and the changes that follow have great consequences for patient's function of speech and nutrition. The extent of changes will depend on the localization and stage of the tumor. In order to reduce the burdens this may cause, thorough information and follow-up is critical (2).


In 2013 there were registered 141 new cases of cancer in the pharynx in Norway (1).

The average age at newly diagnosed pharynx cancer is 64 years. For oropharynx cancer, a shift is often observed to a lower age of disease debut. The disease affects more men than women. 


Age-specific incidence of pharynx cancer, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of pharynx cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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