Your larynx is often called your voice box because it holds the vocal cords that help you make sounds. The larynx makes the bump you can see and feel in the middle of your neck. Some people call that bump the "Adam's apple."
Laryngeal cancer is cancer that’s in your larynx.
Symptoms include hoarseness in your voice that doesn’t go away, a lump in your neck, and later on breathing and swallowing problems
It’s the most common head and neck cancer
Laryngeal cancer is more common in men than in women, especially men over 60
Smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol raise your chance of getting laryngeal cancer
See a doctor if you’ve had hoarseness that’s lasted for more than 2 to 3 weeks.
Doctors don’t always know what causes laryngeal cancer, but the biggest risk factor is:
Nearly everyone who gets laryngeal cancer is, or was, a smoker.
The chance of getting laryngeal cancer is also higher if you:
Doctors can tell if you have laryngeal cancer by examining your larynx. They'll put a thin, flexible viewing tube into your mouth.
Doctors may also do a biopsy (remove a sample of your tissue for testing). A biopsy is usually done in an operating room while you're asleep under general anesthesia.
If you have laryngeal cancer, doctors will see if your cancer has spread to other parts of your body by doing tests such as:
Treatment depends on how much the cancer has grown and spread.
Doctors treat early-stage cancer with one of the following:
Laser microsurgery (using a high energy beam of light to cut out the cancer)
Radiation therapy, especially if the cancer is on your vocal cords
These treatments usually don’t affect your voice.
Doctors treat more advanced cancer with a combination of treatments, such as:
Surgery plus radiation therapy, if doctors think surgery can remove all the cancer
Radiation plus chemotherapy, if doctors think the cancer is too big to remove with surgery—this usually doesn’t cure the cancer but it can shrink the cancer and lessen pain
Almost all treatments for laryngeal cancer have side effects.
Surgery done for advanced cancer sometimes removes all or a large part of your larynx. If your larynx is removed, there are methods to help you speak without vocal cords.
Radiation to your neck may cause:
If you have trouble swallowing after treatment, doctors may need to stretch open your esophagus. The esophagus is the food pipe that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.