The larynx, also known as the voice box, is located in the front of the neck and helps us breathe, swallow and speak, as it controls the opening and closing of the windpipe. Like nearly any other cells in the body, abnormalities within the larynx can lead to the development of a cancerous tumor, which most often develops within the squamous cells that line the inner walls of the larynx.
Patients with laryngeal cancer may experience hoarseness, a lump in the neck, a cough, difficulty breathing, earache, difficulty swallowing and weight loss, among other symptoms. While the exact cause of laryngeal cancer is unknown, certain people may be at an increased risk of developing this condition, including those who:
- Over the age of 55
- Consume large amounts of alcohol
- Are male
- Have a personal or family history of head and neck cancer
- Are African American
- Have been exposed to HPV
Surgical treatment for laryngeal cancer may involve endoscopic removal of tumors through the mouth using either laser or microscopic techniques, or removal of part or all of the larynx through open procedures such as a partial or total laryngectomy. If the cancer has spread from the larynx, the lymph nodes or other nearby structures may be removed as well. Radiation and chemotherapy are also commonly performed to treat laryngeal tumors, and may be used alone or in combination with surgery. A personalized, multidisciplinary treatment will be developed based on a thorough evaluation of each patient’s individual condition.
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