What is it?

Laryngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the larynx tissues. The larynx is a part of the throat that contains the vocal cords. The vocal cords make the person’s voice by vibrating and producing sound when air is directed against them. The leading cause of laryngeal cancer is tobacco smoking and alcohol use.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of laryngeal cancer vary depending on the area of the tumor and may include:
- A sore throat or cough that does not go away.
- Trouble or pain when swallowing.
- Ear pain.
- A lump in the neck or throat.
- A change or hoarseness in the voice.


Diagnosis is made through questioning and investigating medical history, list of prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Physical examination of the face and neck, oral cavity, chest, stomach, and maybe other systems to provide additional information and exclude other diseases. Another possible test includes:
- Laryngoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the larynx and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the mouth.
- Endoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the throat and stomach and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the mouth.
- Biopsy – includes the insertion of a needle to the diseased area and extraction of a small sample for microscopic inspection.
- CT, MRI, or PET-scan – to look for metastases and define the size of the lesion.
- Blood testing.
If a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer is established, more tests would be conducted to determine the stage of the disease (stages I to IV).


Different types of treatment are available for patients with laryngeal cancer and may include:
- Surgery.
- Radiation therapy - a treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
- Chemotherapy - a treatment that uses drugs to stop cancer cells’ growth, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
- Immunotherapy - a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or biologic therapy.
- A combination of the above.
The choice of treatment depends on the patient’s desire and the tumor’s specific stage and area.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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