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Trachea cancer (windpipe cancer) treatment at GenesisCare

At GenesisCare we specialise in diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including trachea cancer. We have teams of highly trained doctors who are experts in this disease. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

What is trachea cancer?

Trachea cancer (or tracheal cancer) is a rare type of lung cancer. The trachea (or windpipe) has two branches known as bronchi, and it’s in these airways where the disease usually starts.

Tumours that spread to the trachea from other areas, like the thyroid, oesophagus (food pipe) or larynx (voice box), are more common. There are various types of trachea tumours:

  • Squamous cells – these start in cells that line areas of the body, such as the airways, and are the most common type
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma – these are much less common and start in the salivary glands and other areas of the head and neck 

The most common type, squamous cells, is caused by smoking and affects men more than women, over the age of 60. 

Trachea cancer treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.

At GenesisCare we combine these with integrative care such as personalised exercise medicine and wellbeing support, carefully planned to help you achieve the best possible outcome. 

We’re the UK’s leading specialist private cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the very best, personalised care plan for your diagnosis.

It is our commitment to offer world-class care to every patient with cancer.

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These web pages provide more information about trachea cancer treatment at GenesisCare. If you would like to contact us in confidence, we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.
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Chapter 2

Diagnostics

At GenesisCare we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are world-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. Whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay.

If you’re concerned about possible trachea cancer symptoms, we offer specialist tests and scans within our centres to provide a diagnosis. Here you’ll see one of our expert consultants who specialises in cancers of the trachea and airways. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for any tests you may need such as a bronchoscopy, biopsy, lung (pulmonary) function tests or imaging scans (including CT, MRI and X-ray).

Trachea cancer symptoms

Diagnosing trachea cancer can be difficult and may take time. Symptoms are similar to other conditions such as asthma, and develop slowly, although age and smoking are risk factors. The most common symptoms of trachea cancer include:

  • A hoarse voice 
  • Difficulties breathing or experiencing breathlessness
  • Coughing (with or without blood)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent chest infections, fevers or chills
  • Noisy breathing or wheezing

It’s important to remember that these symptoms may be caused by other conditions and having one or more of the above doesn’t mean you have trachea cancer. But if you do have any symptoms, you should talk to your GP, and they can refer you to a specialist if they think it’s needed

As the UK’s leading private cancer specialist, we have a dedicated team of head and neck experts providing rapid access to assessment, diagnosis and treatment for any symptoms or concerns you may have. We are able to diagnose any condition causing your symptoms and ensure you have the answers and treatment you need without delay.

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Contact us today to find out more about the head and neck services we provide.
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Chapter 3

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy is often the preferred option for trachea cancer patients who are unable to have surgery, though it can be used effectively in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiation) or after surgery to remove any remaining cancerous tissue.

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities that specialise in advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.

Your radiotherapy treatment for trachea cancer will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists, radiotherapists and dietitians. They’ll work together to ensure that you receive only the best possible care.

Radiotherapy for trachea cancer

Volumetric modulated arc therapy

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique which directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCare we offer VMAT wherever possible because it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy.

Deep inspiration breath hold

Deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) is a technique used when treating cancers of the chest wall to help control movements due to breathing and minimise any radiation delivered to healthy tissues during treatment.

Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy

Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is an advanced radiotherapy technique that uses very focused, high-energy radiation beams to remove tumours in five or fewer sessions. 

MRIdian radiotherapy

The MRIdian uses the latest and most advanced technology to deliver SABR. It includes an MR scanner with the radiotherapy machine to take live images so it can see exactly where a tumour is at the same time as treating it, safely avoiding the healthy tissues and organs surrounding it. GenesisCare has the first two MRIdian MR linacs in the UK at our centres in Oxford and Cromwell Hospital in London. Don’t worry if you’re not in the Oxford or London area – we accept referrals from all over the UK and can help our patients with transport depending on treatment and locations.

Palliative VMAT radiotherapy

We also offer palliative VMAT radiotherapy for those living with advanced trachea cancer, where it has spread elsewhere in the body, to improve pain and increase mobility. We understand that fast access to palliative care is paramount and can usually provide treatment within 48 hours of a planning imaging scan.

Side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you at the start of your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and integrative care can help to manage or minimise these as much as possible.

Here we’ve listed some general short-term side effects of radiotherapy, but your doctor will explain any others that are specific to trachea cancer.  

 

  • Skin irritation and hair loss in the treatment area 
  • Soreness and swelling in the treatment area 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Feeling tired and fatigued 

Although side effects can occasionally be severe, they’re usually very mild and typically resolve within three to four weeks. Throughout your treatment we’ll support you and provide you with advice on how to manage and cope with any side effects you experience.

Surgery

Surgery is often chosen if the cancer is at an early-stage and confined to the trachea, as the surgeon may be able to remove it completely. Surgery forms part of an overall treatment and care plan.

Our consultants work with expert surgeons from local and nationally renowned hospitals as well as other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends trachea cancer surgery, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.

There are various different procedures for trachea cancer surgery, which sometimes may be used before your main treatment. For example, laser treatment or photodynamic therapy (PDT) use a laser light to shrink the tumour and improve breathing. Your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate technique depending on the size and location of your tumour and your breathing ability.

Chapter 4

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatment for trachea cancer can be delivered on its own, after surgery, or in combination with radiotherapy (chemoradiation). This combined approach is more common if you’re not able to undergo surgery.

Side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Most common side effects caused by chemotherapy are temporary, but you might be affected by them after your treatment ends. We’ll work closely with you to limit the impact of them as much as possible.

People experience these side effects differently, and we have a range of interventions and therapies to help you through this time. Our nurses and pharmacists have many years of experience, so they understand what you’re going through and are here to give you expert advice and care. Thankfully, many side effects soon pass when treatment stops.

Chapter 5

Integrative Care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that also includes access to lifestyle and wellbeing therapies proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as any side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing the quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as improving strength and reducing fatigue. Our personalised exercise programmes also continue to support you after your treatment has ended, helping you to manage long term side effects and also help speed up your recovery. 

Exercise medicine can be particularly important in patients with restricted airways. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and, supported by our free dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app, they’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health. They’ll support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres.

 

Wellbeing

We also offer wellbeing experts and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all trachea cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres.

Chapter 6

Why choose GenesisCare?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for trachea cancer treatment, you’ll be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They’ll design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy to access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here.

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.

 

Further reading

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Contact us today to book an appointment or speak to a member of our experienced and compassionate team about private cancer care and how we can help you.
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