What is Laryngeal Cancer?
The larynx is your voice box. It contains cartilage and muscles that enable you to talk. This type of cancer can also damage your voice. When not treated quickly, it may spread to other parts of your body.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of laryngeal cancer depend on the size and location of the tumour. Symptoms may include the following
- Hoarseness or other voice changes
- A lump in the neck
- A sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Stridor – a high-pitched wheezing sound is also indicative of a narrowed or obstructed airway
- Bad breath
- Difficulty swallowing
Smoking is the most important risk factor for this type of cancer. Heavy chronic consumption of alcohol can also have a synergistic effect with smoking in the causation of laryngeal cancer.
How to treat Laryngeal Cancer?
The main treatments for this cancer are radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. Because radiotherapy or surgery removes the cancerous cells from the larynx, it can often cure the cancer if the diagnosis is early. If the cancer is advanced, a combination of surgery to remove part or all of the larynx, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be used. If you have surgery to remove your larynx, you’ll no longer be able to speak or breathe in the usual way. Instead, you will breathe through a permanent hole in your neck (stoma) and you will need additional treatment to help restore your voice.