What is larynx cancer?
Larynx cancer is a cancer that occurs due to malignant (cancer) cells grow in larynx or voice box. Larynx is the short (about 2 inch wide) passage way just below the pharynx. It is rare type of cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use can increase the risk of larynx cancer. Sore throat and ear pain are the most common signs and symptoms of larynx cancer. Most laryngeal cancers start in the flat, scale-like squamous cells that line the inner walls of the larynx. It can also spread to the tongue, throat, neck, lungs and other parts of body.
What causes larynx cancer?
Smoking and alcohol are the most significant risk factors for laryngeal cancer. Other risk factors include:
• poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency
• human papillomavirus (HPV)
• being male, as men are four times more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than women
• being over 40 years of age
• a previous history of head or neck cancer
• exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace, such as paint fumes and some chemicals in metalworking
• low immunity
What are the symptoms of larynx cancer?
Signs and symptoms of throat cancer may include:
• A cough
• Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness or not speaking clearly
• Difficulty swallowing
• Ear pain
• A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
• A sore throat
• Weight loss
There are 5 main T stages for cancer of the larynx – Tis to T4.
Tis (tumour in situ) : It very early stage of larynx cancer and has not spread into surrounding tissue. It is contained in the top layer of the skin like covering of the larynx (mucosa).
T1: Tumour is present only in one part of the larynx and the vocal cords are able to move normally.
T2: Tumour may have started on the vocal cords (glottis), above the vocal cords (supraglottis) or below the vocal cords (subglottis) and has grown into another part of the larynx.
T3: Tumour become more bulky and may cause one of the vocal cords to not move. Or the tumour has grown into nearby areas such as the tissue in front of the epiglottis (pre-epiglottis tissues) or the inner part of the thyroid cartilage.
T4 : Tumour has grown into body tissues outside the larynx and it may have spread to the thyroid gland, windpipe (trachea) or food pipe (oesophagus).
Node (N) describes whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
There are 4 main N stages for cancer of the larynx – N0 to N3. N2 is split into N2a, N2b and N2c.
N0 : In this stage lymph nodes don’t contain cancer cells.
N1 : Lymph node contains cancer cells
N2a: Lymph node contains cancer cells on the same side of the neck as the cancer. And the node is between 3cm and 6cm across.
N2b : More than one lymph node contain cancer cells on the same side of the neck as the cancer. But none of the nodes are more than 6cm across.
N2c : Cancer cells in lymph nodes on the other side of the neck from the cancer, or in nodes on both sides of the neck. But none of the nodes are more than 6cm across.
N3 : At least one lymph node containing cancer cells is larger than 6cm across.
Metastasis (M) is used to describe whether cancer has spread to other parts of body.
There are 2 stages of metastasis – M0 and M1.
M0 means there is no cancer spread.
M1 means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs.
What are treatment options available?
Treatment for larynx cancer is decided on stage of cancer and overall health of patient. For advanced stage larynx cancer combination of treatment may required.
Following are some treatment options available for larynx cancer.
1. Radiation therapy:
In radiation therapy high-energy beams such as X-rays and protons are used to kill cancer cells. In early stages radiation therapy is the only treatment. For advanced stage cancers combination of radiation therapy with chemotherapy or surgery may be required.
Surgery is the most useful and commonly used treatment for larynx cancer. But it is effective when performed by cancer specialist with great knowledge. Following type of surgeries are done to treat larynx cancer.
1. Cordectomy: Vocal cords are removed to treat cancer.
2. Supraglottic laryngectomy: This surgery is used to remove Supraglottis
3. Hemilaryngnectomy: In this surgery half voice box is removed. It saves the voice.
4. Partial laryngectomy: In this surgery part of larynx is removed.
5. Total laryngectomy: In this surgery whole larynx is removed.
6. Thyroidectomy: Whole or part of thyroid gland is removed.
3. Chemotherapy: In chemotherapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells.
Reconstruction and Rehabilitation after treatment:
Larynx cancer treatment often causes complications regarding swallowing and speaking. And it is required work with specialists to regain the ability to swallow, eat solid foods and talk. You may require help for the following activities:
• The care of a surgical opening in your throat (stoma) if you had a tracheotomy
• Eating difficulties
• Swallowing difficulties
• Stiffness and pain in your neck
• Speech problems
Why should you choose OncoXpert for your Larynx Cancer treatment?
At OncoXpert Cancer we provide most advanced oral Larynx cancer treatment. We keep our patients at the centre of all of our work and constantly think about how we can support you and your loved ones at every turn.
We have team of highly experienced oncologists that are dedicated to providing you with the very best possible care and treatment. We have our branches in 5 major cities of India i.e. Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad.