(Cancer of the Larynx; Cancer of the Voicebox )
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- Smoking—the most common high-risk behavior
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Occupational exposure to certain air pollutants such as wood dust, chemicals, and asbestos
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)—chronic condition marked by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus and throat where it may come in contact with the larynx
- Weakened immune system
- Laryngeal dysplasia—a precancerous condition
- Persistent cough, hoarseness, or sore throat
- Abnormal lump in the throat or neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain when swallowing
- Frequent choking on food
- Difficulty breathing
- Noisy breathing
- Persistent ear pain or an unusual ear fullness or sensation in and around the skin of the ear
- Unplanned, significant weight loss
- Persistent bad breath
- Coughing blood
- Total laryngectomy—This involves the removal of the larynx, including the vocal cords.
- Partial laryngectomy—In this procedure, the surgeon removes the cancerous tissue while leaving as much of the vocal cords as possible.
- Tracheotomy—To help with breathing, a hole is made in the neck below the larynx. This may be temporarily necessary after surgery, or permanently placed in the case of laryngeal tumors that are too large to be removed.
- Neck dissection—This involves the removal of the lymph nodes and part of the neck muscles to determine the spread of cancer.
- Avoiding excessive alcohol use by drinking in moderation. Moderate drinking is a maximum of 2 drinks per day for men and a maximum of 1 drink per day for women.
- Protecting yourself from toxic exposures that have been linked to laryngeal cancer.
- Get or maintain GERD treatment.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. New York, NY: Pocket; 2000.
Head and neck cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2014. Accessed August 14, 2014.
Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003108-pdf.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2014.
Laryngeal cancer treatment—for health professionals (PDQ). National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/hp/laryngeal-treatment-pdq. Updated July 31, 2014. Accessed August 14, 2014.
2/3/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Weller MD, Nankivell PC, McConkey C, Paleri V, Mehanna HM. The risk and interval to malignancy of patients with laryngeal dysplasia; a systematic review of case series and meta-analysis. Clin Otolaryngol. 2010;35(5):364-372.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -