Cancer of the Larynx (Laryngeal Cancer) (Laryngeal Carcinoma)

Cancer of the Larynx (Laryngeal Cancer) (Laryngeal Carcinoma)

Dr. Kennedy
Cancer of the voice box (the larynx)
which is located at the top of the windpipe (trachea). Also called laryngeal
cancer
or laryngeal carcinoma. Cancer of the larynx occurs most often
in people over the age of 55 years. A clear association has been made between
smoking, excess alcohol ingestion, and laryngeal cancer. If a patient with laryngeal
cancer continues to smoke and drink alcoholic beverages, the likelihood of a
cure is diminished, and the risk of developing a second tumor is enhanced. People
who stop smoking and drinking can greatly reduce their risk of cancer of the
larynx. The larynx is divided into 3 anatomical regions. From top to bottom,
they are the supraglottis, the glottis (which contains the vocal
cords), and the subglottis. The supraglottic area is rich in lymphatic
drainage so up to half of people with supraglottic tumors already have metastases
(spread of the tumor) to lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis. The vocal cords
are largely devoid of lymphatic vessels so that cancer confined to the vocal
cords rarely, if ever, presents with involved lymph nodes. Subglottic tumors
are quite rare but may metastasize. Painless hoarseness can be a symptom of
cancer of the larynx. The larynx can be examined with a viewing tube called
a laryngoscope. Cancer of the larynx is usually treated with radiation
therapy or surgery. Chemotherapy can also be used for cancers that have spread. Sigmund Freud died of laryngeal cancer at the age of 83 in 1939 after smoking cigars his entire adult life.

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