Malignant Neoplasm of Larynx

Malignant Neoplasm of Larynx

What is laryngeal cancer? — Laryngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer. It happens when normal cells in the larynx change into abnormal cells and grow out of control (figure 1). The larynx, also called the voice box, is the top part of the windpipe. The larynx has the vocal cords in it, which are small structures that let people speak.
What are the symptoms of laryngeal cancer? — Symptoms of laryngeal cancer can include:
A hoarse voice
Trouble swallowing
Ear pain
A cough or coughing up blood
Trouble breathing or noisy breathing
All of these symptoms can also be caused by conditions that are not laryngeal cancer. But if you have these symptoms, tell your doctor or nurse.
Is there a test for laryngeal cancer? — Yes. Your doctor or nurse will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. During the exam, he or she might use a special mirror to look in your mouth and down your throat.
Your doctor will also look down your throat using a "scope," which is a thin tube with a camera and light on the end. During this procedure, he or she might do a test called a biopsy. For a biopsy, the doctor takes a small sample of tissue from the area that looks like cancer. Then another doctor looks at the sample under a microscope.
Some people also have an imaging test, such as an MRI, CT, or PET scan. Imaging tests create pictures of the inside of the body.
What is cancer staging? — Cancer staging is a way in which doctors find out if a cancer has spread past the layer of tissue where it began, and, if so, how far.
The right treatment for you will depend a lot on the stage of your laryngeal cancer and your other medical problems.
How is laryngeal cancer treated? — Treatment for laryngeal cancer involves one or more of the following:
Surgery to remove the cancer – The type of surgery depends on how big the cancer is and where in the larynx it is. Sometimes, doctors can do "minimally invasive surgery," which involves less cutting. Other times, doctors need to remove part or all of the larynx.
Radiation therapy – Radiation kills cancer cells.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is the medical term for medicines that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
After treatment with surgery or radiation, people can have problems eating, swallowing, or talking. If this happens to you, you will have treatment called rehabilitation, or "rehab" for short. During rehab, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals will work with you on eating, swallowing, or talking.
Many people worry about being able to talk after part or all of their larynx is removed. But after surgery, you will learn new ways to make sounds and talk. If needed, there are also devices that can help you speak.
What happens after treatment? — After treatment, your doctor will check you every so often to see if the cancer comes back. Follow-up tests can include exams, blood tests, and imaging tests. People who are treated for laryngeal cancer also need to see their dentist for regular follow-ups.
You should also watch for the symptoms listed above. Having those symptoms could mean your laryngeal cancer has come back. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any symptoms.
What happens if my laryngeal cancer comes back or spreads? — If your laryngeal cancer comes back or spreads, you might have more surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
What else should I do? — It's important to follow all of your doctor's instructions about visits and tests. It's also important to talk to your doctor about any side effects or problems you have during treatment.
Getting treated for laryngeal cancer involves making many choices, such as what treatment to have. Always let your doctors and nurses know how you feel about a treatment. Any time you are offered a treatment, ask:
What are the benefits of this treatment? Is it likely to help me live longer? Will it reduce or prevent symptoms?
What are the downsides to this treatment?
Are there other options besides this treatment?
What happens if I do not have this treatment?
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 83251 Version 8.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
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