Tracheal cancer treatment
Cancer in the trachea is a malignant tumour originating from the tracheal wall's tissues. The disease is associated with difficulty breathing, stridor, paroxysmal painful cough, and impaired voice. Diagnostic tests include ENT examination, tracheoscopy, imaging and biopsy. Surgery followed by radiotherapy is the right treatment strategy for most patients. However, oncologists might resect effective immunotherapy for advanced cases.
Tracheal cancer is a malignant formation that starts and develops in the trachea (from the walls). The tumour of the trachea is diagnosed in middle-aged and older men, in most cases in the chest or at the level of the bifurcation. There are two types of tumours:
- Primary ones occur from the epithelium or connective tissue of the trachea.
- Secondary ones are localised in nearby organs (oesophagus, mediastinum, thyroid gland, bronchi, larynx). They affect the trachea due to aggressive infiltrating growth or metastasis.
Oncologists distinguish cancer in the trachea after examining the cells after biopsy. For example, adenocystic cancer (cylindroma) originates from the glandular epithelium and is characterised by relatively slow progression, aggressive local growth and a tendency to relapse.
Squamous cell carcinoma originates from squamous epithelium, usually on the trachea's back or side wall.
The reasons for tracheal cancer are not exactly clear. However, among the risk factors are unfavourable heredity, oncoviruses, smoking, alcoholism, chronic inflammatory processes of the oral cavity and respiratory tract (gingivitis, stomatitis, caries, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis), an increased level of radiation, adverse environmental conditions, and long-term contact with some chemical substances.
In the initial stages, symptoms do not appear. However, the development of the disease leads to shortness of breath, sleep disturbances, attacks of dyspnea, dry cough, sputum-containing blood and an unpleasant odour. In the later stages, a person begins to cough up whole pieces of the tumour, which leads to some relief of the respiratory tract.
If the tumour is located in the upper parts of the trachea, it can be seen during mirror laryngoscopy. Low-lying tracheal cancer requires direct laryngoscopy, upper tracheoscopy or bronchoscopy. The doctor collects tissue (biopsy) or mucus during the procedure for further histological and cytological examination. Surgical removal of cancer in the trachea in combination with pre- and postoperative radiation therapy is the method of choice. In inoperable trachea cancer, palliative operations can be offered. Many patients will require surgical reconstruction or cosmetic surgery to restore appearance and function defects after the primary treatment. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy are prescribed for both operable and inoperable malignant tumours of the trachea as additional therapy.
The prognosis for tracheal cancer is unfavourable in most cases. With squamous cell cancer, five-year survival is about 40%, with adenocystic cancer - from 65 to 85%. In the case of late treatment, the prognosis worsens.
Where can I get Tracheal cancer treatment?
What are the best clinics for Tracheal cancer treatment?
Who are the best doctors for Tracheal cancer?
Prof. Dr. med Harald-Robert Bruch, MSc, PhD from Oncological and Haematological Praxis Clinic Bonn
Prof. Dr. med. Barbara Wollenberg from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Florian Bassermann from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Eber from M1 Private Clinic Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Markus Suckfull from Academic Hospital Martha-Maria Munich