Breathing effortlessly, eating comfortably and not grappling with persistent coughs… Although all these are routine things that we do easily during the day, some diseases can hinder even the most basic behaviors; as in laryngeal cancer… Avrasya Hospital Medical Oncology Specialist Assoc. Dr. Fatma Şen provides important information about laryngeal cancer, which greatly affects the quality of life.
What is this laryngeal cancer?
The larynx, which separates the esophagus from the breath, is one of the most important parts of the respiratory system. The larynx, where sound is produced, also prevents food from escaping into the windpipe during swallowing. Malignant tumors that develop in the larynx and its region, which perform many functions, are called laryngeal cancer.
Laryngeal cancer, which is mostly used to express the types of cancer in the back of the mouth, the back of the upper esophagus and larynx, develops when malignant cells in this area grow uncontrollably.
Your body may be signaling, listen to the symptoms!
Since laryngeal cancer occurs in the area close to the vocal cords, the first symptom is changes in voice. And also;
- Difficulty and pain when swallowing,
- Shortness of breath,
- Smell of breath
- Swelling in the larynx area,
- Wheezing breath
- Pain in the ear
- Recurrent sore throat,
- Persistent cough
- Weight loss
- Fatigue and weakness.
It is not known exactly why it occurs
It is not known exactly why laryngeal cancer occurs. However, many different factors are thought to be effective in the emergence of this type of cancer. Although the cause cannot be determined, there are some factors that increase the risk of laryngeal cancer. Especially in people who smoke for a long time and consume alcohol, this risk is much higher. Because some components in cigarettes cause tumors by changing the structure of the larynx cells. Besides all these;
- Human Papilloma Virus, (HPV)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease,
- Excessive enlargement of the thyroid gland and goiter,
- Exposure to chemicals such as coal,
- Not enought feeding,
- Neglected oral and dental care,
- Genetic predisposition is also among the factors that increase the risk.
It is similar to different types of cancer
The occurrence of laryngeal cancer is similar to other types of cancer. It occurs when old cells in the larynx do not die and begin to accumulate. As these cells, which do not have any function for the body, accumulate, they turn into benign or malignant tumors. While benign tumors are not life-threatening, malignant tumors must be controlled. Moreover, while benign tumors do not spread to the surrounding tissues, malignant tumors can recur and spread to the surrounding tissues even if they are treated.
What kind of a path is followed for diagnosis and treatment method?
The most important step in the diagnosis of the disease is to notice the changes experienced in the person himself. At this point, the doctor evaluates the information and health history obtained from the patient and examines whether there is swelling in the larynx area with a physical examination. The larynx is then entered with a thin tube with laryngoscopy for definitive diagnosis. With the help of this tube, the larynx area is examined in detail. Another method is laryngoscopy. In this method, the doctor can examine the area of the vocal cords comfortably and in detail.
The stage of the cancer is very important in the treatment of the disease. If the cancer is in its initial stage, radiation therapy is preferred. However, if the disease has progressed, it is aimed to treat the disease using chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery is another method used in the treatment of laryngeal cancer. The operation area can be opened with a scalpel or laser and some or all of the larynx can be removed.