Tracheal cancer

Tracheal cancer is a rare type of lung cancer, sometimes known as bronchial cancer.

 

What is tracheal cancer?

Tracheal cancer is a rare type of lung cancer, sometimes known as bronchial cancer. That’s because the trachea (or windpipe) has two branches – known as bronchi, and this is where the disease usually starts.

Most tumours that begin in the trachea or bronchi are cancerous. However, other tumours can spread to the trachea (metastasised) from other parts of the body.

Several types of cancerous tumours affect trachea or bronchi. They each reduce airflow into the lungs by narrowing the opening of the trachea.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of tracheal cancer. It’s mainly caused by smoking. It multiplies and can cause bleeding and ulcers in the trachea. It affects men (aged over 60) more than women
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma is slow growing. It’s as common in women as in men. It’s not caused by smoking – no one is sure why it develops. People aged 40-60 are most at risk. It can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to asthma, COPD and bronchitis
  • Carcinoid tumours are also slow growing and are more likely to be found in the bronchi than the trachea. People aged 40-60 are most at risk

Types of non-cancerous tumours include papillomas, chondromas and hemangiomas.

Causes of trachel cancer

It’s not known what causes every type of trachea cancer. However, in some cases, age and smoking are risk factors.

Symptoms of tracheal cancer

These can include:

A hoarse voice

Breathing difficulties

Coughing (with or without blood)

Difficulty swallowing

Frequent chest infections, or fever

Noisy breathing or wheezing

Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer but it’s best to ask your doctor for advice. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

Tests and disgnosis

Diagnosing tracheal cancer can be difficult and take time – symptoms are similar to other conditions such as asthma, and develop slowly.

Investigations may include:

  • Bronchoscopy – tissue samples may be taken for biopsy
  • Scans including CT and MRI
  • Tests to see how well the lungs are working (pulmonary function testing)
  • Chest X-ray

Treatments we offer

Tracheal cancers are hard to treat with surgery. Treatments usually include chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Meet our doctors

Our-doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

+44 (0)121 353 3055

Bristol

300 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4SY

01454 456500

Cambridge

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, CB8 7XN

+44 (0)1223 907 600

Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU

+44 (0)1245 987 901

Cromwell Hospital

164-178 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TU, UK

020 7460 5626

Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ

+44 (0)208 236 9040

Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX

+44 (0)1483 806 000

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

+44 (0)1732 207 000

Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS

+44 (0)1908 467 700

Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

+44 (0)115 966 2250

Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, OX4 6LB

+44 (0)1865 237 700

Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

+44 (0)23 9248 4992

Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

+44 (0)238 076 4961

Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

+44 (0)1753 418 444