Laryngeal cancer affects the voice box (larynx). The larynx is at the windpipe’s entrance, a part of the throat, so it plays a crucial role in helping to speak and breathe. The condition is more common in people over 60, and men are more likely to develop it than women.
Laryngeal cancer symptoms
The primary symptom of laryngeal cancer is developing a hoarse voice for more than three weeks. The other symptoms can include:
- Pain while swallowing
- A swelling or lump in your neck
- A long-lasting breathlessness or cough
- Persistent earache or sore throat
- A high-pitched wheezing or sneezing noise when you breathe
- Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)
Some might also experience abrupt weight loss, bad breath, or fatigue due to extreme tiredness.
Laryngeal cancer causes
The specific cause of laryngeal cancer is unknown, but the risks of developing one can increase exponentially by:
- Smoking tobacco
- Often alcohol abuse
- If your family members have or had laryngeal
- Unhealthy diet (low in vegetables and fruits)
- Exposure to specific substances and chemicals like asbestos or coal dust
Adopting a healthy lifestyle by including enough fruits and vegetables in your diet; avoiding tobacco and alcohol can significantly lower your chances of developing laryngeal cancer.
Laryngeal cancer treatment
The primary treatments for laryngeal cancer are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted cancer medications. When the cancer is at its early stage, surgery and radiotherapy will help to remove the cancerous cells from the larynx.
If the cancer is more advanced, the doctor will use a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. After the surgery of larynx removal, the person will not speak or breathe the usual way. Instead, the person will breathe through a permanent neck hole and need additional treatments to communicate.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022