Laryngeal Cancer

What is Laryngeal Cancer?

Laryngeal Cancer is a cancer that affects the larynx and is commonly known as the cancer of the voice box. Larynx is a part of the throat between the trachea and the base tongue. It contains the vocal cords and is divided into three parts. Supraglottis is the upper part of the larynx that is above the vocal cords and includes the epiglottis. Glottis is the middle part of the larynx and this is where the vocal cords are located. Subglottis is the lower part of the larynx which is located between the trachea and the vocal cords. When cancer cells are formed in the larynx tissues, it is known as laryngeal cancer. Most cancer cells are formed in the thin and flat squamous cells that line the inside of the larynx. This type of cancer comes under the category of head and neck cancer.

Laryngeal cancer is treatable, but the effectiveness of the treatment is based upon several factors. The stage of the cancer is the most important factor to consider, along with the exact location and the size of it. A person’s general health, age, and certain other body parameters also determine the effectiveness of the treatment. All these factors affect the patient’s chances of recovery.


Certain signs and symptoms hint towards laryngeal cancer, but these may also be as a result of other medical conditions. A visit to a specialist is recommended for correct diagnosis. Early detection of symptoms and effective diagnosis can help eliminate laryngeal cancer and minimize its growth and spread. The signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer include:

  • Persistent cough and sore throat.
  • Discomfort or pain in swallowing.
  • Lump in the throat or neck.
  • Hoarse voice.
  • Pain in the ear.



Although the exact reasons of the development of cancer are not known. However, the main cause is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the region to form tumours. This is due to genetic mutations. Some factors that lead to genetic mutations include:

  • Smoking.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
  • Too much consumption of alcohol.
  • Exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos.



The major risk factors of developing the disease are:

  • It is most common in older people above the age of 40.
  • Smoking and consumption of alcohol.
  • HPV infection.
  • Improper diet.
  • Family history with first degree relative diagnosed with the cancer.
  • Low immunity.
  • Exposure to substances like asbestos, paint or diesel fumes, coal or wood dusts, nickel, formaldehyde, etc.



To prevent the disease one should:

  • Avoid intake of tobacco products.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Following a healthy diet.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with analysis by a general practitioner. Thereafter, you may have to undergo certain tests to identify laryngeal cancer. The first step of diagnosis is a physical examination of th...

How is it treated?

Treatment for laryngeal cancer depends upon the stage of the disease. Multiple treatments may be required to completely remove and reduce the cancer from spreading or returning. Our specialist at Medanta may employ several methods to treat larynge..

  • Surgery

    If the tumour is small, it may be easily removed through surgery.


  • Radiotherapy

    For larger tumours, a combination of surgery and radiotherapy is generally effective. Radiotherapy helps remove any remaining cancer cells and also reduces the risk of the cancer recurrence. It involves using high-energy waves to kill cancer cells.


  • Chemotherapy

    In this method anticancer drugs are used to destroy the cancer cells.


  • Biological therapy

    It involves using drugs that control the growth of cancer cells by modifying the way the cells work.

When do I contact the doctor?

You need to consult the doctor, if there is persistent coughing or sore throat, and you feel lump in the area. An immediate diagnosis of the disease at an early stage can help treat the disease effectively.

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