A cancer where the malignant cancer cells form anywhere in the tissues of the voice box or larynx containing the vocal cords is called laryngeal cancer. It is also known by the name of laryngeal carcinoma. The location and size of the tumour is important in treating laryngeal cancer. Laryngeal cancers usually develop in the squamous cells inside the voice box (larynx). Squamous cells make the epithelial lining of the voice box.
1. I have been suspected of laryngeal cancer and have been prescribed diagnostic tests for it. What symptoms should I be expecting in the days to come besides the persistent cough and the lump in my neck?
The symptoms can be varied for each individual and also depends upon the location, size of the tumour, the duration for which it has been there undetected and the stage of the cancer. However, some known symptoms are:
• Weight loss
• Bad breath
• Ear ache
• Trouble swallowing
• Hoarseness of voice
• Sore throat
2. What could be the possible causes if I am diagnosed with laryngeal cancer?
Though the exact causes resulting in cell mutation have not been identified yet, there are some things that increase the chances of one getting cancer, such as:
• Prolonged use of alcohol
• Excessive use of alcohol
• Prolonged and/or excessive of tobacco
• A heavily meat-based diet – devoid of greens
• Chronic goiter
• Exposure to asbestos or silica powder
• Prolonged exposure to certain other air pollutants and chemicals
• Infected with the human papillomavirus
• Poor dental/oral hygiene
• Exposure to radiation
• Prior case of head or neck cancer
3. What diagnostic tests will I be expected to run to confirm or negate my having laryngeal cancer?
Because the diagnostic tests for throat cancers require expertise, your general physician (GP) will in all probability recommend you to a specialist for the tests. However, the GP will run a physical examination, run through your medical records and order you to go for an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) imaging tests.