Larynx cancer or laryngeal cancer is a kind of cancer that impacts the larynx, which is also known as the voice box. It is a part of the throat that is found at the windpipe entrance and plays a pivotal role in helping you speak and breathe. The symptoms of this cancer include a change in voice, cough for too long, difficulty in swallowing, swelling or lump in your neck, and difficulty in breathing.
If you have these conditions for more than three weeks, then you should visit your doctor, who can refer you to a specialist. Only an expert can either rule out or confirm cancer. Regular drinking of alcohol, smoking tobacco, and a family history of neck cancer are some common causes of this cancer.
The treatments for laryngeal cancer include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Radiotherapy or removing the cancerous cells through surgery can cure laryngeal cancer if it is detected early. However, if it is in an advanced stage, a combination of all the treatments can be used.
During radiotherapy, the energy beams are precisely targeted to your larynx. To make sure the rays or beams hit a specific area, the patient needs to wear a plastic mask that can hold the head in the right position. Radiotherapy is generally given in short and daily sessions with a break on the weekends.
Chemotherapy is another treatment that is used to treat larynx cancer that has reached an advanced stage or showing signs of return after the treatment. This treatment can eliminate the symptoms and slow down the growth rate. In this treatment, the doctor injects a chemical drug into the vein once every 3 to 4 weeks.
Three types of surgery are also used to treat laryngeal cancer that includes endoscopic resection, partial laryngectomy, and total laryngectomy. Endoscopic resection is performed under general anesthetic, so the patient remains unconscious during the entire procedure.
In partial laryngectomy, surgery is performed to remove the affected part of the voice box, so some of the vocal cords will be left. In total laryngectomy, the entire larynx gets removed by surgery. Sometimes, the nearby lymph nodes are also removed if cancer has also infected them.
There are also some benefits of larynx cancer treatment. The biggest advantage of any cancer treatment is that it helps you to live longer. The treatment also reduces the pain and other complications in your throat.
The patient won't be able to eat until the throat is healed. People usually take at least 12 to 15 days to start eating. While the throat heals, the patient is fed through a tube. If the larynx is removed, the person won't be able to speak. However, various techniques can be used to imitate the functions of the vocal cords.