Laryngeal (Voice Box) Cancer
What is Laryngeal Cancer?The formation of cancer cells in the larynx or voice box is referred to as a laryngeal cancer. It is one of the most common head and neck cancer in the United States, with more than 13,000 people developing it each year. If this cancer is not diagnosed early on and if proper treatment is not accessed, it can lead to fatal consequences. More than 3,000 people die every year because of laryngeal cancer.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with laryngeal cancer, please get in touch with our qualified and experienced otolaryngologists at Eastside ENT specialists in Madison, Concord or Willoughby Ohio. Just give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care!
What Causes Laryngeal Cancer?Your larynx is a tube shaped organ in your neck. Often called the voice box it lies on top of the windpipe and helps with your breathing, talking and swallowing. It contains vocal folds or vocal cords that vibrate to give you your voice. When the healthy cells in your voice box change and adopt out-of-control growth, a tumor develops that can be benign or malignant. Most tumors begin from the flat cells that make the linings of your larynx, and if the tumor is malignant, they may spread in the surrounding areas.
What are the Symptoms of Laryngeal Cancer?Some common symptoms of laryngeal cancer are as follows:
- Persistent hoarseness that may get worse with time
- A lump or an enlarged lymph node in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent sore throat
- Pain in the neck or throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Noisy breathing
- Pain in the ear
- Fatigue and weight loss
What are the Risk Factors for Laryngeal Cancer?Following factors may increase your chances of developing laryngeal cancer:
- Smoking tobacco filled cigarettes, cigars and pipes
- Chewing tobacco
- Second hand smoke
- Heavy Consumption of Alcohol
- Working in environments with carcinogens like wood dust, paint fumes and other chemicals
- Vitamin A and E deficiency
- Chronic Acid Reflux or GERD
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Gender ( men are 4 to 5 times more likely to develop voice box cancer)
- Race (White and Black Americans are more susceptible than other races)
- Age (people over 55 are at higher risk)
When Should I see a Doctor?If your voice is hoarse, or you feel a lump on your neck, you should not wait to see an experienced otolaryngologist to get properly diagnosed.
How is Laryngeal Cancer Diagnosed?Early diagnosis is crucial for effective voice box cancer treatment. Your doctor may use following diagnostic procedures to inspect the possibility of laryngeal cancer:
- Physical exam of your neck and throat to look for lumps or swollen lymph nodes
- Physical exam of the inside of your mouth, cheeks, lips, gums and tongue
- Endoscopy or Laryngoscopy, using a thin, lit tube to look inside your throat
- Removal of some tissues form your throat to test them under a microscope (biopsy)
- CT scan
- Bone scan
How is Laryngeal Cancer Treated?You can expect following measures taken by your doctor for your laryngeal cancer treatment:
- Surgery: To remove the cancerous cells
- Chemotherapy: Using drugs to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from dividing any further
- Radiation: Using high-energy X-rays to destroy cancerous cells
Laryngeal or voice box cancer is preventable through simple life style changes. However, if you do develop this dangerous cancer, it is important that you seek professional medical help. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with laryngeal cancer, please get in touch with our qualified and experienced otolaryngologists at Eastside ENT specialists in Madison, Concord or Willoughby Ohio. Just give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care!