Oropharyngeal cancer

Cancers of the mouth are known as oropharyngeal carcinoma. They are relatively rare: about two to five diseases per 100,000 in men and 0.5 to one disease per 100,000 women.

Most patients with oropharyngeal cancer have been exposed to carcinogenic substances for many years. Tobacco consumption in the form of cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars has an immediate dose-response relationship. It significantly increases the risk of cancer of the throat. An increased consumption of alcohol and tobacco was found in 85 percent of patients suffering from head and neck cancer.

A distinction is made between tumours of the epithelium (the majority of diseases), tumours of the lymphatic tissue and salivary gland carcinomas. Based on their location, a distinction is made between tumours of the palatine tonsils, the base of the tongue and the soft palate.


Many patients complain of difficulty swallowing and a sore throat with pain radiating to the ear. Bad breath, lockjaw and blood in the saliva can be signs of a tumour of the mouth, as can a "nasal" voice. The disease is often accompanied by swelling of the cervical lymph nodes.

Oropharyngeal carcinomas can frequently be diagnosed with a laryngoscopy. As a rule, a panendoscopy of the entire throat area is also performed with intubation anesthesia. Small tissue samples are taken from the patient by biopsy and examined for fine tissue to confirm the diagnosis.

Imaging procedures such as sonography (ultrasound), computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to determine the location and size of the tumour and to plan a therapy.

Recommended therapies for the treatment of oropharyngeal carcinoma:

Photodynamic therapy

At the Hyperthermia Centre Hannover, we recommend the photodynamic therapy (PDT) for patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma, which specifically destroys diseased cells with light. In the process, a light-activatable substance (a so-called photosensitizer - here: Chlorin) is injected. This triggers a chemical reaction in combination with light of a specific wavelength in the diseased cells, which leads to cell death. The surrounding healthy tissue is spared.

Whole-body hyperthermia

For patients with oropharyngeal tumors, the healing effect of whole-body hyperthermia is that we can quickly bring the organism to high temperatures (up to a maximum of 40.5 ° C). This rapid and high warming not only activates the immune system, but kills many degenerated cells of the oropharynx, which is killed by heat and the rapid influx of heat. In addition to the damage or elimination of cancer cells, whole body hyperthermia activates the immune system enormously and does not pollute the organism. It causes an immune cascade, in which the white blood cells proliferate and activate.

Locoregional hyperthermia

For oropharyngeal carcinoma, regionally effective hyperthermia is also recommended, the effect of which is to rapidly heat the affected area to high temperatures (40 to 44 ° C maximum). This heating activates the immune system. In addition, many degenerated cells of the oropharynx are damaged or killed. In our practice at the Hyperthermia Centre Hannover, we offer this partial body hyperthermia depending on the diagnosis, in which only the damaged or degenerated tissue is overheated, whereby we guarantee our patients a very gentle treatment.

Gerson Therapy

The nutritional therapy according to Dr. Gerson aims to detoxify the body while adding lots of fresh nutrients, which is especially helpful for patients with oropharyngeal tumors. In addition to special juices, which are prepared fresh and elaborate and are taken regularly throughout the day, they contain essentially fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables. This is prepared with special consideration of the healing power contained therein and partly prepared as fresh food, partly in special soups. The Gerson therapy is low in sodium, low in protein and low in fat.