Laryngeal Cancer

Health SGNODLOL August 16, 2016 0 8
Laryngeal Cancer
 Contents of this article
  •  Definition
  •  Causes
  •  Prevention Tips
  •  Analyses - Examinations
  •  Treatments

The main cause of laryngeal cancer is smoking. Its frequency is increasing among women, due to the increasing number of smokers.


Laryngeal cancer mainly develops on the lining covering the cartilage constituting the backbone of the larynx. The starting point of these tumors can be located at variable locations.

The larynx is a complex organ located in the middle part of the neck, at the crossroads of the airways and upper digestive tract.

Laryngeal cancer is more common in men, but it is rising among women with the increase in the number of smokers.


After years of exposure, inhaled irritants can cause the onset of cancerous tumors:

  • mainly tobacco;
  • occupational toxic intake;
  • toxic contribution of environmental origin.

The most common cause is of course tobacco. Then come, but to a much lesser degree, mainly professional volatile toxic substances.

Very rarely, cancer can develop without obvious cause.


The larynx cancer symptoms depend on the starting site of the tumor.
On the vocal cords, the tumor causes hoarseness. If it persists beyond three weeks, especially if the person smokes, a review by an ENT specialist is essential.
If the tumor grows in the upper part of the larynx, it can cause difficulty breathing in addition to a modification of the voice.
If the tumor begins at the crossroads between the respiratory and digestive tract, it results both in discomfort in breathing and swallowing. In this localization, smoking is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

Prevention Tips

It is possible to prevent laryngeal cancer by avoiding throughout his life risk factors including smoking and heavy alcohol use.

Analyses - Examinations

To establish larynx cancer diagnosis, examination by an ENT specialist is essential given the deep location of the larynx. This examination is done simply by consulting with a lighting for using a small mirror.

Most often, it is practiced by nasofibroscopie.

The record before treatment
 The accurate diagnosis of cancer can be brought only after microscopic examination of a sample of the tumor. This biopsy is performed during an endoscopic examination under general anesthesia with a hospital stay of a half-day day hospital.
 Once the diagnosis of cancer, a full assessment is required before the implementation of a treatment. This assessment includes:

  • Scanner larynx to clarify the seat and the exact boundaries of the tumor and a possible extension to metastatic nodes in the neck;
  • Scanner chest for lung metastasis of a possible;
  • positron emission tomography of the entire body to highlight possible tumor location to another member;
  • general review in order to assess the patient's condition biologically, heart and liver.
 Check our detailed fact sheets:  Scanner


There are three therapeutic to treat laryngeal cancer:

  • surgery ;
  • radiotherapy;
  • chemotherapy.

These techniques can be used alone or in combination depending on the location and stage of cancer progression.

Small tumors localized to the vocal cords are treated with surgery alone laser. These tumors are excellent tips because they do not develop metastasis.

The larger tumors receive radiotherapy possibly associated with chemotherapy. The treatment with the aim of preserving the larynx and avoid a mutilating surgery. In case of failure of this treatment, a larynx removal of salvage surgery is practiced.

For outset very extensive tumors that can cause respiratory problems, one is sometimes forced to use a larynx removal surgery, called total laryngectomy.

Side effects after treatment

After a treatment that could keep the larynx, patients generally have a voice modification but can breathe and eat normally.
After larynx removal surgery, patients lose the ability to speak and breathe through a permanent tracheostomy. These patients normally feed by mouth.
 To regain the power of speech, the best way is speech therapy that acquires a voice said "esophageal" produced by expelling through the mouth before swallowing air.

Some patients who have difficulty acquiring this technique prefer to use a throat microphone. Also, during surgery, it is possible to implement a small voice prosthesis by the junction between the trachea and the pharynx.

When radiotherapy treatment choice but to warn patients of the side effects of radiation. These disadvantages disappear about two months after the end of treatment.
 Chemotherapy, in turn, may cause general fatigue, nausea and hair loss. These effects depend on the substances used.

The surveillance

After treatment, regular monitoring is required after the patient has been clearly informed of the risks of relapse if it does not radically change its habits.
 The first year after the end of treatment, the patient should be monitored every three months. A CT scan every six months is made, including the thorax. The second year, the patient should be checked every six months to five years, and then annually.


The risk of recurrence is much lower if patients do not regain their smoking habits and whether they restrict significantly the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
 It takes 10 years after quitting to return to a similar risk to that of someone who never smoked.