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Being Diagnosed With Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer is a type of neck and head cancer that affects the larynx. Cancerous cells form within the tissues located in the larynx for a number of different reasons. This part of the throat, which is located between the trachea and the back of the tongue, is where your vocal cords are. These cords are what actually create a person’s voice.

The Parts of the Larynx

The larynx contains three parts: The Subglottis is the lowest part. It’s located between the trachea and the vocal cords. The Glottis contains the actual vocal cords. The Supraglottis is the top part of your larynx and includes the epiglottis.

Generally, laryngeal cancer occurs in the squamous cells. These are flat, thin cells that are in the lining of the larynx. These cells appear in all three parts of the larynx.

Causes of Laryngeal Cancer

There are a number of different things that can cause or increase your risk of laryngeal cancer. Smoking and using other tobacco products is, of course, one of the biggest factors in developing this type of cancer. Drinking too much can also increase your likelihood of developing laryngeal cancer.

Symptoms

If you have several of the following symptoms, especially if they linger or recur, you may want to talk to your doctor about doing an exam for laryngeal cancer. Note, however, that many of these symptoms can be caused by other things, which is why it’s always important to have testing done before jumping to conclusions.

• Pain in your throat or ears
• A cough or a sore throat that lasts for weeks
• Difficulty swallowing
• Pain or ache when swallowing
• A lump on your throat or neck
• A change in your voice

Diagnosis

The first thing your doctor will do to check for laryngeal cancer is a physical exam. They will feel around the inside of your mouth and look down your throat. This exam will check for any irregularities that can be seen in the mouth and upper throat, including checking the cheeks, tongue, and lips. The doctor will also feel your neck to see if any of your lymph nodes are swollen and will review your medical and family medical history.

The next step may be a biopsy. A specialist will remove a few cells from your throat to study. This may be done with a laryngoscopy, which involves placing a tiny tube down your throat to look at the larynx and remove the cells. Another method of removing cells for a biopsy is an endoscopy. It’s very similar to a laryngoscopy in that a thin tube is inserted into the mouth and ran down the throat.

Other tests that can be done to determine if you have laryngeal cancer include CAT scans PET scans, a MRI, and a bone scan. You may also be asked to do a barium swallow. This involves drinking a special liquid and then having an x-ray done.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.