Laryngeal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Larynx is the voice box or the Adam’s apple. It is that part of the human body which helps it produce speech as well as all types of sounds. The larynx comprises the glottis or the vocal cords that vibrate when air is passed through them. Larynx Cancer affects the glottis, the supraglottis area that is above the glottis or the subglottis area, which connects the larynx to the trachea. Most of the cases of larynx cancer occur in the glottis. This type of cancer affects more men as compared to women. However, with the increase in the number of women becoming addicted to smoking, the cases of larynx cancer have increased in women too.

Causes of Larynx Cancer

The precise cause of the occurrence of Larynx Cancer is still unknown. However, there exists a number of acknowledged risk factors. The risk of this type of cancer increases by 30 percent in people who smoke. The risk increases with the intensity of smoking. Even passive smoking poses hazards. People who are heavy drinkers can also fall prey to Larynx Cancer. The combination of smoking and drinking habits can be a major causal factor. Regular consumption of alcohol takes a toll on the health of people as they are deprived of nutritional food. Additionally, the HPV Virus results in genital warts and this can also ultimately lead to cancer. Often, mothers pass this virus to their kids at birth. This virus settles in the larynx, develops into a growth and ultimately leads to cancer later in life. Larynx Cancer is generally detected in people who are 50 to 75 years old. A weak immune system or exposure to toxic substances might lead to this illness.

Symptoms of Larynx Cancer

Symptoms of this type of cancer are based on the location where the tumor occurs. Cancer that takes place in the vocal cords can be detected quite early most of the time because the primary symptom of this is hoarseness in the voice. While many people suffer from a hoarse voice, they should get it checked if the condition lasts for more than 2 weeks. Other symptoms of Larynx Cancer are:

-A persistent cough that does not go away

-A sore throat that continues for days

-Difficulties faced in breathing or a feeling blockage in the throat

-Pain in the ear, as throat pain also affects the ears

-A lump in the throat or neck area or even a mass

-Coughing blood, a major symptom indicative of the spread of cancer in the body

Treatment of Larynx Cancer

The objective of the treatment for this type of cancer is to remove the tumor completely. Further, doctors try to prevent the cancer from spreading to other areas of the body. When the tumor is quite small, the options available for removal are surgery or even radiation therapy. However, when the tumor grows and becomes large or spreads to other areas like lymph nodes in the neck, then doctors use a combination therapy of radiation as well as chemotherapy for preserving the voice box.

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