LARYNGEAL CANCER

Description

  • Type of throat cancer that affects the larynx
  • Most often begins in the flat cells that line the inside of your throat
  • This type of cancer can damage the voice

Symptoms

  • Hoarse voice
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Excessive coughing
  • Cough with blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
  • Neck swelling
  • Neck lumps
  • Sudden weight loss

Causes

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Poor nutrition
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) exposure
  • Immune system problems
  • Workplace exposure to toxins, such as asbestos
  • Certain genetic diseases, such as Fanconi anemia

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming large quantities of processed foods
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • A family history of throat cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Diagnostic Tests

  • Using an endoscope to get a closer look of the throat (Nasendoscopy)
  • Removing a tissue sample for testing
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • X-rays

Treatment

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Treating symptoms of advanced cancers
  • Surgery for early-stage throat cancer
  • Surgery to remove all or part of the voice box (laryngectomy)
  • Surgery to remove part of the throat (pharyngectomy)
  • Surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes (neck dissection)
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Rehabilitation after treatment

Medications

  • Cetuximab (Erbitux)
  • Corticosteroids (to relieve symptoms)

Prevention

  • Stop smoking or don’t start smoking
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all
  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Protect yourself from HPV
  • Use proper safety equipment if exposed to asbestos at work
  • Eliminate tobacco use in all forms

Lifestyle Management

  • Learn enough about throat cancer to make treatment decisions
  • Find someone to talk with
  • Take care during cancer treatment
  • Go to all of the follow-up appointments
  • Join a support group
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol
  • Have a positive outlook
  • Attend treatments with a positive attitude