Cancer of the larynx

Laryngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (tumor) cells form in the tissues of the larynx.

Laryngeal cancer is within 2% of all malignant tumors. It is 8-9 times more common in men than in women. Localized tumors are observed in 60% of patients; in 30% of cases, regional metastases are detected, and in 10% – distant metastases during the initial examination. The predominant histological form is squamous cell carcinoma.

More often the supraglottic upper part of the larynx is affected (70%), then the fold (28%) and subglottic (2%).

The reasons

Laryngeal cancer develops gradually as a result of cell changes under the influence of smoking and drinking alcohol. Not all precancerous conditions turn into true cancer. If, for example, you stop smoking, then precancerous changes may disappear.


Many patients with laryngeal cancer can be detected in the early stages. Tumors of the vocal cords are traditionally detected in the early stages, as they cause hoarseness.

It is necessary to consult a doctor if the following complaints appear:

  • Persistent sore throat
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing
  • Persistent ear pain
  • Labored breathing
  • weight loss
  • Hoarseness of voice for 2 or more weeks
  • The appearance of swelling or swelling in the neck


If cancer of the larynx and laryngopharynx is suspected, the patient is referred to a specialist in tumors of the head and neck region. The larynx and laryngopharynx are located deep, so the diagnosis presents certain difficulties. With the help of a special instrument, which is a flexible thin tube with an illuminator and inserted through the nose or mouth, the nasal cavity, larynx and hypopharynx are carefully examined. If a suspicious focus or tumor is detected, a biopsy is performed (taking a piece of tissue for examination).

Computed tomography (CT) makes it possible to determine the size of the tumor and its spread to the lymph nodes and surrounding tissues.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows more detailed examination of body structures, especially the brain and spinal cord, than computed tomography.

A contrast study of the esophagus with barium gives the chance to obtain additional information about the tumor.

A biopsy is the only method that gives the probability to judge with certainty the presence of cancer. A biopsy may involve taking a piece of tissue or puncturing the tumor with a needle.


Treatment for stage I and II vestibular cancer is radiation therapy, for stage III and IV – combined treatment (radiation therapy + laryngectomy), sometimes resection or extended laryngectomy.

For stage I and II vocal cord cancer, radiation therapy or surgery can be used (long-term results are the same). For stage III and IV cancer, combined treatment is indicated.

Subglottic cancer of stages I and II is treated surgically; in stages III and IV, radiation therapy is performed after surgery.

At advanced stages of the disease, chemoproducts can be prescribed: adriablastin, cyclophosphamide, prospidin, methotrexate, bleomycin, fluorouracil, spirobromin, etc.

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