1. What are the treatment options for my laryngeal cancer?
The treatment route recommended by your specialist for laryngeal cancer will depend upon the size, location, grade, extent or stage of the tumour. It will also depend upon your general health condition and your medical history. In general, the following options are exercised by the doctor’s under these circumstances:
• Chemotherapy: This procedure is common in cases where metastasis (spread) has occurred. It uses chemicals (antineoplastic drugs) to destroy the rapidly dividing cells.
• Radiation: Radiation (X-rays, Gamma rays or charged particles) is given on exact spots where the cancer tumour is located to destroy the tumour. It may also be given internally via an injection or by fitting a radioactive pellet at the site.
• Surgery: In surgery, the tumour is physically and surgically removed in an operation under general anaesthesia. This may require the partial or total removal of the organ on which the tumour is located. Nearby lymph glands may also need to be taken out if the cancer has spread to these.
• Adjuvant treatment: Adjuvant or additional therapies call for radiotherapy after surgery or chemotherapy after surgery for larger or newly growing or fast-dividing tumours.
• Screening: Regular and long-term monitoring through imaging techniques may be done to check for tumour recurrence.
• Rehabilitation therapy: Rehabilitation is almost always required after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Help is required from a psychologist, physiotherapist, dietician, speech therapist etc due to the side-effects that often follow treatment.
2. I have heard that treatment for any cancer entails experiencing very harsh side effects. What am I looking at?
Yes, it is possible that you may experience one or more side-effects while being treated and after you are cancer free. This depends upon the size, type and location of your tumour. However, the side-effects last a few months before they disappear. I have listed below some of the commonly-reported side-effects of laryngeal cancer treatment:
• Sore throat
• Mucous build-up in the throat
• Nausea after chemotherapy