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What is Tracheal Cancer ?

Trachea (windpipe) is a tube that runs from the Larynx (voice box) down to the Bronchi (airway) of both Lungs, Trachea helps in passing air from the mouth to Lungs which are used for Oxygenation. The Tracheal Tumor is a very rare entity that can be primary (arising in the trachea) or secondary (invading from surrounding structures). The Primary Tracheal Tumor can be benign or malignant. The malignant Tracheal Tumor is more common comprising of two most common Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Other tumors are Carcinoid, Chondroma Hemangioma, Papillomas, and Sarcomas.

Tracheal Stenosis

Tracheal stenosis, which includes subglottic stenosis, is a narrowing or constriction of the trachea. Most cases of tracheal stenosis develop when scar tissue develops in a person’s trachea due to prolonged intubation — when a breathing tube is inserted into the trachea to help maintain breathing during a medical procedure — or from a tracheostomy, which is a surgery to create an opening in the neck to access the trachea. Tracheal stenosis can also develop from a number of other causes, including: external injury to the throat; a benign or malignant tumor pressing on the trachea; certain autoimmune disorders (polychondritis, sarcoidosis, papillomatosis, amyloidosis, and Wegener’s granulomatosis); and infections. It can also develop as a side effect when radiation therapy is used to treat a tumor in the head or neck.

Tracheal & Bronchial Tumors

Tumors that arise in the trachea and bronchi are rare. The vast majority of tracheal and bronchial tumors in adults are malignant, but a few are benign.

People with tracheal and bronchial tumors may experience the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • coughing, sometimes with blood (known as hemoptysis)
  • wheezing
  • stridor, a high-pitched musical sound that occurs as the breath is drawn in, which is caused by a blockage in the airways
  • Risk factor & Diagnosis

    Smoking is the most primary risk factor for Tracheal Tumor.

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    Symptoms

    • Symptoms of Tracheal Tumor includes:
    • Wheezing or noisy breathing.
    • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
    • A dry cough
    • Hemoptysis
    • A hoarse voice
    • Difficulty in swallowing
    • Recurring fevers, chills and chest infections. Coughing up blood,

    Diagnosis

    Bronchoscopy not only defines the extent of airway involvement but also takes a Biopsy for diagnosis. Bronchoscopy is also useful in the management in cases which cannot be operated. CECT scan is important in defining the extent of Tracheal Tumor and the status of the surrounding structure..

    Management

    Management of Tracheal Tumor depends on the extent of disease, histology, and fitness of the patient. Surgery is a mainstay of treatment in operable cases, airway stenting, photoablation, laser excision, radiation therapy are the options.

    Surgery

    Surgery involves an operation to remove part of the Trachea and the Tumor, which is the preferred treatment. If feasible, with good expertise even half of the Trachea can be removed and reconstructed..

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