CANCER OF THE LARYNX

Cancer of the larynx

  •  Cancer in the voice box
  •  Larynx is divided into three parts: supraglottis (above the true vocal cords), glottis (vocal cords) and subglottis (below the cords). Symptoms depend on the site of larynx involved.
  • Some of the symptoms seen in cancer of the larynx are:

  •  Hoarseness or change of voice
  •   Breathing difficulty
  •   Feeling of something stuck in the throat and difficulty swallowing
  •   Pain on swallowing
  •  Breathing difficulty
  •  Swelling in the neck
  •  Pain in the ear
  •  Sudden unexplained weight loss
  •  These symptoms may not always indicate cancer in the larynx, but are commonly seen in patients suffering from the disease. Please see your doctor if these symptoms persist for a longer duration.
  •  The key to effective cancer management is an early diagnosis.

    Causes:

  •  Smoking and tobacco consumption
  •   Exposure to viruses such as human papilloma virus
  •   Exposure to toxins such as asbestos and coal
  •   History or cancers in the family

    Management:

  •  Diagnosis is made with a laryngoscopy where the doctor will use scope and camera to examine your larynx.
  •   Biopsy is taken to confirm the diagnosis. May be taken at an outpatient basis along with the laryngoscopy or under general anaesthesia depending on the extent of growth and the condition of the patient, each with their pros and cons
  •   Imaging (CT/MRI) are done to assess the spread of disease and staging.
  •   Treatment depends on extent of cancer. Modalities available are: radiotherapy or surgery and chemootherapy
  •  In some early cases, surgery may be unnecessary and you may be advised radiotherapy, providing the same results. This may also be the case if the disease is advanced and surgery may be ineffective where entire disease removal is not possible.
  •  Most advanced cancers use a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  •  You may lose part of your voice box during surgery. There are several prostheses that help the patient to speak after surgery. Speech therapy also plays a very important role in post-operative rehabilitation