Laryngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the larynx. The larynx is the part of the throat, between the base of the tongue and the trachea that contains the vocal cords. The vocal cords vibrate and make sound when air is directed against them. The sound echoes through the pharynx, mouth, and nose to make a person’s voice. Most laryngeal cancers form in squamous cells, which are the thin, flat cells lining the inside of the larynx. If diagnosed and treated early, the outlook is generally good.
Prevention is always the best treatment. We can’t protect ourselves from all the possible causes, including heredity, but not smoking or drinking too much alcohol can significantly increase your chances of not developing laryngeal cancer. Some of the possible signs of laryngeal cancer include:
-A sore throat or cough that does not go away
-Trouble or pain when swallowing
-A lump in the neck or throat
-A change or hoarseness in the voice
The following tests and procedures may be used to examine the neck and throat:
Physical exam: An examination where we feel for swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and look down the throat with a small, long-handled mirror to check for visible abnormalities.
Laryngoscopy: A procedure in which we examine the larynx (voice box) with a mirror or laryngoscope, which is a thin, lighted tube like a tiny camera.
Endoscopy: A procedure to look at organs and tissues inside the boxy to check for abnormal areas. An endoscope is inserted through an incision in the skin or mouth. Tissue samples and lymph nodes may also be taken for biopsy.
CT Scan: A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly.
MRI: A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures, similar to a CT scan.
Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope and examined for signs of cancer.
Barium swallow: A series of x-rays of the esophagus and stomach. The patient drinks a liquid that contains barium (a silver-white metallic compound), which coats the esophagus and stomach before the x-rays are taken. This procedure is also called an upper GI series.
The prognosis and outcome differs for each individual patient’s case. Depending on the size and location of the cancer, surgery is generally the most common option, but radiation therapy or chemotherapy is also used.
South Coast Specialty is staying on the leading edge with the latest techniques that are producing results for patients of all ages. For more information, please request a free consultantion through our website or by calling 800-578-8521. The staff and doctors of South Coast Specialty look forward to hearing from you.