What is Larynx and can it get cancer?
Larynx is the voice box in our neck which produces our voice.
Yes, sometimes there can be a cancer development within larynx.
What are the causes of cancer in larynx and how can one avoid it?
Majority cancers of larynx are due to cigarette bidi smoking. Risk of laryngeal cancer also increases with alcohol consumption.
Sometime larynx cancer can develop without history of smoking or alcohol abuse due to unknown causes.
By adopting a healthy life style and avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, one can significantly reduce risk of laryngeal cancers.
What are the common symptoms of cancer in Larynx and how can it be picked up at an early stage?
Presenting symptom of laryngeal cancer are change – hoarseness of voice. This symptom is often noticed and picked up early by patient and family.
Other symptoms include difficulty or pain in gulping / swallowing food or lump / swelling in the neck.
Sometimes infection in larynx can also present with similar symptoms. In early stage of cancer, symptoms of cancer and infection in larynx are similar.
What is important is to remember that if any symptom is persisting for more than 3 weeks then please consult doctor and get yourself checked to check for cancers.
In very advanced stages patients can develop breathing difficulty as well.
What is laryngoscopy or FOL?
Laryngoscopy is a kind of endoscopy to look at larynx from inside and take biopsy if required.
How is laryngeal cancer treated?
Stage 1 laryngeal cancer is treated by radiotherapy alone. This radiation therapy (RT) is done gradually over 6 -7 weeks. With RT, more than 95% patients can get cancer cure as well as preserve their voice.
In intermediate stages laryngeal cancer requires combination of radiation therapy and low doses of chemotherapy over 6-7 weeks. This treatment again gives high chances of cancer cure along with preservation of normal voice.
In very advanced stages, laryngeal cancer is treated with surgery and radiation therapy with or without low doses of chemotherapy. In these surgeries also, surgeons try to create ways to produce artificial speech mechanism.
Every patient of cancer is discussed in tumour board to identify best treatment solution for a given patient.
Does this chemotherapy given along with radiation therapy cause hair loss?
No, this chemotherapy is given in very low doses alongside radiation to increase effect of radiation therapy in curing cancer and does not cause hair loss.
How is quality of voice after radiation therapy?
In majority patients’ quality of voice after RT is very good.
Is there hope in treating laryngeal cancer?
Yes, treatment of laryngeal cancer has high chances of cure and conservation of normal voices with appropriate treatment.