Cancer of the Larynx
Cancer of the larynx is sometimes called laryngeal cancer or throat cancer.
Symptoms of laryngeal cancer may include:
- Hoarse voice
- Lump in the throat
- Pain in the throat when swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen lymph nodes
Causes of cancer of the larynx
No one is sure why cancer begins to grow. Cancerous tumors start from one abnormal cell, which begins to divide and grow very rapidly, creating tumors. Some people develop cancer of the larynx for no apparent reason. However, certain risk factors may increase the chance that laryngeal cancer may develop. These include:
- History of long-term smoking
- History of heavy drinking
- Long-term exposure to certain chemicals, fumes or
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux
Evaluation and Treatment
- Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination. Different diagnostic studies may be ordered, including imaging studies, lab tests and detailed physical examinations. These may include:
- Inserting an endoscope through the nose or mouth to
examine the vocal cords
- A stroboscope (flashing light) may be used to watch the vocal folds as they move
- If a lesion or mass is identified, your doctor will
order a biopsy. This is performed in the operating room. A small tissue sample
is removed from the mass and examined underneath a microscope by an
experienced pathologist. This is usually performed under general anesthetic
and can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, the
doctor will also examine your entire throat for any other signs of disease.
- If the biopsy results confirm that the diagnosis is laryngeal cancer, more tests will be ordered to confirm how advanced the cancer has spread. These may include:
- Further samples may be taken from the nearby lymph
glands by using a fine needle.
- CT scan
- Treatment for laryngeal cancer may include:
The treatment your doctor will recommend is based on various factors, including how large the cancer is and whether it has spread, how aggressive the cancerous cells appear to be and your general health.
If a tumor is determined to be malignant, patients will
have the opportunity to consult with the interdisciplinary team at Washington Cancer Institute . In addition to surgery to remove the tumor, you will be offered chemotherapy and radiation regimens, based on your type of cancer.