What is Laryngeal Cancer?
What is Laryngeal Cancer? Laryngeal cancer is a tumor that grows on the voice box tissue (larynx). The larynx is part of the throat that has an important function in helping our breathing and speech process. This part of the body will also protect the lungs from ingestion of food at the time of swallowing.
This medical condition can be experienced by anyone, but men have 4 times higher risk to experience it than women. Laryngeal cancer also commonly affects the elderly, especially those aged 60 years or older.
Symptoms of Laryngeal Cancer
Most laryngeal cancers develop and develop in squamous cells that form the inner wall of the larynx. Symptoms of this cancer can also vary, based on size and location. Some common symptoms include:
- Sound changes, for example, become hoarse.
- A lump or swelling in the neck.
- Sore throat.
- Cough that does not heal.
- Feel there is a wedge in the throat.
- Bad breath.
- Difficult or painful when swallowing.
- Pain in the ear.
Check your medical condition to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Early examination may increase your chances of recovery.
Causes and Risk Factors of Laryngeal Cancer
The cause behind all cancers is the appearance of abnormal cell growth. The growth trigger is not yet known for certain.
However, there are a number of factors that are thought to increase a person’s risk of developing laryngeal cancer.
Some of the risk factors are as follows:
- Smoke. This is a major risk factor for laryngeal cancer as well as various other diseases.
- Often over-drinking.
- Have or have a family member who has cancer in the head or neck.
- Experiencing exposure to certain chemical compounds for the long term, such as asbestos dust.
Diagnosis and Stage of Laryngeal Cancer
The symptoms of laryngeal cancer tend to be similar to other diseases. Therefore, this disease includes difficult to detect.
In the early stages of the diagnosis, your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and your medical history and family. Physical conditions outside the inside of the neck and surrounding areas will also be examined.
If there is a suspicion that you have laryngeal cancer, your doctor may recommend some further tests to confirm the diagnosis. The inspection process includes:
- Laryngoscopy or endoscopy.
- Biopsy or tissue sampling.
- CT, MRI, and PET-CT scans.
The above checking processes will also help the doctor to determine the stage and extent of cancer progression developed by the patient. Like cancer in general, the stage of laryngeal cancer is also determined by the size of the tumor, lymph node is attacked, and the stage of spread.
Small tumors that have not spread to the lymph nodes or other body parts are the lowest-grade cancers and have the greatest potential to be cured. The danger of cancer will increase along with the development and spread.
Speed of tumor development will also be a consideration in determining the stage of cancer. Rapid development will increase the spread of cancer in the patient by the patient.
Step Treatment of Laryngeal Cancer
If you are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, your doctor will advise you to undergo treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment may increase the likelihood of the patient to recover.
Treatment of laryngeal cancer generally includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Appropriate treatment measures for patients will be determined by the doctor based on tumor size and extent of the spread.
Early-stage cancer is sometimes adequately treated with radiotherapy or small surgery. Whereas advanced stages of cancer or tumors large enough usually require a combination of greater surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
In general, surgery that may be recommended in dealing with laryngeal cancer involves removal of the tumor during endoscopy and laryngectomy.
Removal of tumors in endoscopic procedures is usually recommended for small-sized tumors with an early stage. While laryngectomy is advised to treat cancer at a more advanced stage.
Laryngectomy is the surgical removal of the larynx. This procedure is divided into 2 types, namely:
- Partial laryngectomy. In this operation, only a portion of the patient’s vocal cords will be lifted so that the patient’s speech ability can still be saved. But the patient’s voice will turn hoarse or soft.
- Total laryngectomy. This operation will lift the entire voice box and the surrounding lymph nodes. Therefore, the ability to talk the patient will be lost. Total laryngectomy will also leave a permanent hole (stoma) on the patient’s neck to assist breathing. Stoma hygiene should always be kept free from germs.
For patients undergoing a total laryngectomy, there are several steps that allow the patient to regain the ability to speak. One of them by installing a tool in the form of an artificial valve on the patient’s neck. Speech therapists will guide patients to familiarize themselves with their use.
Prevention of Laryngeal Cancer
Just like all cancers, laryngeal cancer also can not be prevented completely. All we can do is to suppress the potential of the risk factors.
The main step to avoid laryngeal cancer is to stop smoking and limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Limit consumption of alcohol as recommended, in a day is 2 to 2.5 cans of beer 4.7 percent alcohol for men, and a maximum of 2 cans of beer 4.7 percent alcohol for women.
Applying a healthy and balanced diet is also believed to help prevention of laryngeal cancer as well as various other diseases.