Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Laryngeal cancer is a rare cancer that occurs when malignant cells grow in the larynx or voice box. This type of cancer can damage the voice. If not treated immediately, cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Check out an explanation of the symptoms, causes, and how to treat it below.
What is Laryngeal Cancer?
The larynx is part of the respiratory system that connects the trachea (airway) and the windpipe. Not only does it function to produce sound, this organ also plays an important role in preventing food and drink from entering the respiratory tract.
The presence of malignant cells growing in the larynx makes you painful when swallowing, has a hoarse voice, and coughs accompanied by blood.
The cure rate for this type of cancer varies from person to person. This depends on where the cancer appears and the stage suffered.
Laryngeal Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of this condition can be easily detected. Some of the signs that can be observed include:
- Severe cough, even accompanied by the appearance of blood.
- neck pain
- Sore throat.
- Difficulty swallowing food
- It’s hard to breathe.
- Swelling of the neck.
- Lump on neck
- Sudden weight loss
When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?
If you experience some of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t delay getting your condition checked by a doctor. The reason is, it could be that the symptoms experienced are not cancer of the larynx.
Therefore, to find out other causes, an examination needs to be done, especially if the symptoms have been experienced for more than a week or are getting worse.
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Causes of Laryngeal Cancer
This condition is caused by healthy cells that undergo changes or mutations. As a result, these cells grow out of control.
The exact cause of laryngeal cancer is not yet known. However, there are several conditions that are considered to increase the risk, including:
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Immune system problems.
- Exposure to toxins at work, eg exposure to asbestos.
- exposure human papillomavirus.
- Genetic diseases, such as Fanconi anemia.
- Consumption of unhealthy food.
- Lack of consuming complete and balanced nutritious food.
Diagnosis of Laryngeal Cancer
The doctor will first conduct a medical interview regarding your condition, such as symptoms, complaints, and medical history. If the symptoms point to laryngeal cancer, the doctor will do some supporting tests.
Tests that can be done to make a diagnosis include:
The doctor will examine the throat and larynx using a small tube with a camera (endoscope) at close range. If it detects any abnormalities, the doctor will proceed with a biopsy.
In some cases, the doctor may take tissue or cell samples from your body. This action is performed to identify the presence of cancer.
3. Medical Imaging
Although it is not a commonly used method for diagnosing laryngeal cancer. However, CT scans And magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect whether laryngeal cancer has spread.
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Types of Laryngeal Cancer
Laryngeal cancer can be differentiated based on the stage or severity of the condition.
- Stage 0: This stage indicates that the abnormal cells that appear in the larynx have not spread to other organs. Even so, there is a possibility that these cells can become cancerous and spread to other organs.
- Stage I: At this stage, the abnormal cells have developed into cancer. However, the cells are still small and have not spread.
- Stage II: This stage indicates that the cancer has gotten bigger, but has not spread to other organs.
- Stage III: At this stage, the cancer has gotten bigger, then started to spread to nearby organs.
- Stage IV: Stage 4 indicates that the cancer has spread to other organs of the body far from the larynx.
Laryngeal Cancer Treatment
Treatment for this disease depends on the stage of the cancer. However, in general, several treatments are carried out, including:
In the early stages of treatment, the doctor may recommend surgery or surgery. This action is performed to remove the tumor.
In general, side effects of cancer surgery are rare. However, the risk of side effects may increase if the cancer has spread.
Some of the impacts of this action include:
- Defects on the neck.
- It’s hard to breathe.
- Voice change.
- Lost voice.
- Difficult to swallow.
- Permanent scars from neck surgery.
2. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is done to kill any remaining cancer cells and stop their growth. Doctors may recommend this therapy in cases of small cancers. This therapy can also be done after surgery to prevent cancer cells from growing back.
The chemotherapy process aims to:
- Destroys remaining cancer cells after surgery and radiation therapy.
- Treating advanced cancer along with radiation therapy when surgery has had poor results.
- Treating advanced cancer that cannot be completely removed.
Also Read: 11 Important Steps in Addressing a Cancer Diagnosis
Laryngeal Cancer Complications
If this condition does not get proper treatment, several complications can occur, including:
- Impaired ability to speak.
- Hard to eat.
- Difficult to swallow.
- Lost voice.
- Impaired tongue function.
- Weakened body resistance.
- Dry mouth.
- The esophagus narrows.
- Scarring occurs in the esophagus.
Laryngeal Cancer Prevention
Cancer simply cannot be prevented. However, you can lower your risk of developing this condition by adopting some healthy lifestyles, such as:
- Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Apply a healthy diet by increasing consumption of foods with high antioxidant content.
If you detect an unusual problem in the throat, immediately check the condition with a doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
- Anonymous. 2021. Laryngeal (Larynx) Cancer. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/laryngeal-cancer/. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
- Anonymous. 2022. Laryngeal Cancer. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16611-laryngeal-cancer. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
- Moore, Kristeen. 2018. Laryngeal Cancer. https://www.healthline.com/health/laryngeal-cancer. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
- National Cancer Institute. 2021. Laryngeal Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®)–Patient Version. https://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/patient/adult/laryngeal-treatment-pdq. (Accessed 7 February 2023).
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