“Laryngeal cancer” is more common in men than women because smoking and drinking are the significant risks for laryngeal cancer. Many people may have been smoking and drinking for a long period of time since a teenager but it does not result in serious health problems. In fact, it develops slowly and the symptom later appears during the middle age which can eventually become cancer. How do we know that we have those symptoms or not? Dr. Chantima Arayangkun, specialist at Head and Neck Surgery Center of Phyathai 2 Hospital gives explanation about laryngeal cancer.
Symptoms of Laryngeal Cancer
1. Persistent hoarseness
2. Difficulty swallowing, pain when swallowing
3. Difficulty breathing in severe cases
If you have signs or symptoms that suggest you might have a cancer of the larynx. Medical diagnosis will be done as following:
1. Ear, nose and throat exam
2. An endoscopy to view the larynx and check for abnormalities, if a tumor is found, a sample of cells will be removed to examine whether it is cancer cells
3. If the patient has a lump in the neck or throat, it will be removed for further investigations
4. Physical exam
5. Blood test
6. X-Ray imaging tests to determine the stage of the disease
Laryngeal Cancer Treatment
1. Early stage of cancer – using radiation therapy or surgery to cure the cancer while keeping the larynx, so that the patient is still able to speak and breathe as normal.
2. Advanced laryngeal cancer (Stages III-IV) - surgical treatment is performed to remove the larynx or lymph nodes in the neck. After the larynx or voice box is removed, the patient is unable to speak or breathe normally. In order to help the patient breathe, a stoma (hole) is placed in the neck, connected to the trachea (windpipe). The patient will learn to speak again involving esophageal speech, and an artificial larynx. During this stage, chemotherapy along with radiation can improve cure rate.
Effect of laryngeal cancer
1. If laryngeal cancer is left untreated for a long time, the patient will be unable to breathe, due to the tumor that blocks the trachea. It is then necessary to make a surgical hole in front of the neck to allow breathing and if the patient cannot reach the hospital in proper time, the patient may suffocate to death.
2. Cancer can spread to other organs such as the esophagus, the base of the tongue, the trachea. Bleeding occurs; and the patient cannot eat or breathe which probably lead to death. Cancer also can spread to the lungs, bones, and liver.
How to take care of yourself from laryngeal cancer
1. The best way to protect yourself from laryngeal cancer is to reduce the risk. Avoid smoking and drinking as well as taking good care of yourselves.
2. If there are signs or symptoms such as hoarseness, chronic sore throat, difficulty breathing, visit the physician. Do not wait or take medicine by yourself because we don’t know that might be the symptoms of laryngeal cancer or not.
Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon
Head and Neck Surgery Center, Phyathai 2 Hospital
You may find our specialist here at Head and Neck Surgery Center, Phyathai 2 Hopsital
Phyathai 2 Hospital
International Correspondence Center
Tel: +66-2617-2444 ext 2020 or 2047, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org