Laryngeal Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Laryngeal cancer

This type of disease Laryngeal cancer affects the cells lining the larynx. The larynx is also known as voice box and it is 5 cm long. Located below the throat, it has vocal cords which vibrate and produce sound when air gets directed against them.

This form of cancer is malignant and in order to understand it better, it is ideal to look at the parts that form the larynx. It can affect the esophagus or the esophageal system. The laryngeal cancer can start off as lumps before it blows out completely.

  • Subglottis: This is the lower part and it is found between the windpipe and vocal cords.
  • Glottis: It is the middle part and where vocal cords are found.

  • Supraglottis: Forms the upper part and also includes the epiglottis.


Laryngeal cancer is more prevalent in men because they are smokers than women. More than 13,000 people are diagnosed with it every year. This could be as a result of the varying tobacco usage among the genders which is considered normal.

Men are known to smoke tobacco products more often and in the long term too. It is for this reason that smoking is seen as one of the leading causes of laryngeal cancer. Heavy consumption of alcohol is also another risk factor.

Consequently, people who combine continuous use of alcohol and tobacco are exposed to higher chances of developing the cancer compared to those who don’t.

Signs and Symptoms

A persistent hoarse voice is one of the major laryngeal cancer symptoms. In this respect, when you note a hoarseness of your voice that does not disappear after 2 weeks, it is advisable to seek help from your doctor rather than take more risks.

Other signs which are associated with the disease and which patients need to be on the lookout for include the following.

  • You might experience difficulty while swallowing and chewing.
  • A burning sensation or pain while swallowing and this might be followed by a heartburn.
  • When swallowing, you might experience the sensation of the food getting stuck in your throat.
  • It can cause a persistent cough not related to allergies or common cold.
  • A lump might develop in your neck.

  • Ear ache (this is a rare situation).
  • Halitosis also known as bad breath which often comes from the tongue.
  • Can affect the respiratory system.
  • Dry mouth and lips.
  • Increased stomach acid.
  • Affects the flow of words, etc.

There are a couple of factors that determine the type of symptoms noted such as the location and size of tumor. For instance, if this cancer develops within the vocal cords, a change in the quality of voice is noted and when it is below or above the vocal cords, difficulty in breathing is noted.


Whenever someone seeks medical help as a result of any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is likely the result will be laryngeal cancer. The doctor therefore is supposed to carry out an examination to determine the extent of the injury and they might suggest methods of treatment such as carrying out a laryngoscopy or oral medication.

This test involves taking sample tissue to determine that the infection not cancerous. In the event cancer is noted, the extent must be established and this is dependant on the person.

When the condition is not addressed, it can cause other heart, arteries and lung related problems etc.


The treatment of laryngeal cancer is influenced by how serious the condition is and whether it has spread extensively.

In most cases, it is a matter of personal initiative to take control over your life and get rid of the aspects that trigger the disease.