Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancers are any malignant growth found in the larynx or throat. Because of their location, they are highly treatable if caught early. It is important to be evaluated immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in the sound of your voice
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Lump in your neck
  • Earaches

No one knows why a malignant or cancerous growth begins to grow. However, there are certain risk factors for laryngeal cancer. These may include:

  • Older than age 40
  • Males have a higher risk than females
  • History of smoking
  • History of heavy alcohol use
  • Family history of head and neck cancer

To make a complete and accurate diagnosis, your doctor will perform the following:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Complete exam on your throat and larynx to determine the type and nature of the growth
  • Biopsy to examine the tumor tissue and determine the kind of cancer, how aggressive it is, and the best way to treat it
  • Diagnostic, including imaging studies, lab tests, and detailed physical examinations, including:
    • Laryngoscopy: an examination of the larynx with a laryngoscope
    • Endoscopy: to view the upper airways and inside the nostrils, the throat, and vocal cords. This is normally done by inserting a scope with a light and camera down the nose and throat.
      • This includes direct laryngoscopy (look at voice box), esophagoscopy (esophagus), and bronchoscopy (bronchial tubes and lungs)
    • X-rays
    • MRI
    • CT scan
    • PET scan

Treatment for laryngeal cancer depends on when and where the cancer is found, as well as the type and grade of the tumor and includes any of the following:

After your surgery and completing chemotherapy and/or radiation, your doctor will want to monitor you closely to make sure the cancer has not reoccurred. The visits may be as frequently as once a month for the first year following treatment. These visits will typically consist of a physical examination, flexible endoscopy, a discussion of how you are feeling, and any diagnostic tests needed to determine your health.