Cancer of the larynx (also called voice box), a part of the throat, is known as laryngeal cancer. Cancer occurs as some cells multiply uncontrollably, says the best oncologist in Kolkata. As these cells grow, the body is invaded and damaged. In laryngeal cancer, these malignant cells spread in the larynx.

What is the role of the larynx?

Your larynx is located in the throat, and it helps you in speaking, breathing, and swallowing. The larynx consists of vocal cords and is primarily composed of cartilage, a flexible tissue that serves as a structural support. The larynx is divided into three segments:

  • Supraglottis (upper part)
  • Glottis (middle part)
  • Subglottis (lower part)

According to Dr. Suvadip Chakrabarti (one of the best cancer surgeons in Kolkata), about 35% of laryngeal cancers start in supraglottis, while 60% develop in glottis, and the remaining in subglottis.

What factors put you at risk for laryngeal cancer?

The use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, significantly increases the chances of developing laryngeal cancer. Drinking a lot of alcohol increases your risk. Using tobacco and alcohol together raises the risk even higher.

Other factors that increase the risk of laryngeal cancer are:

Age: Laryngeal cancer is more common in people aged 55 and up.

Gender: Men are more prone to this cancer, probably because men are more likely to smoke and drink heavily.

History of head and neck cancer in the family: People who have had head and neck cancer before are around 25 percent likely to get laryngeal cancer.

What signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer are commonly experienced?

The symptoms of laryngeal cancer are often mistaken for other conditions. If you have any of these signs, speak with your cancer doctor in Kolkata for a proper diagnosis:

  • Voice change, including hoarseness, which persists for weeks
  • Cough or sore throat that refuses to go away
  • Pain when swallowing food
  • Ear pain
  • Lump in the throat or neck
  • Dysphonia

What is surgical treatment for laryngeal cancer?

Surgery may remove the tumour while preserving the larynx in cases of early laryngeal cancer (and the ability to speak and swallow). In the case of advanced cancer, surgeons can need to perform a laryngectomy, which involves removing the entire larynx. The aim of laryngeal cancer surgery is to remove the tumour while maintaining your ability to speak and swallow. Part or the entire larynx may need to be removed by the head and neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata. Common surgical modalities include the following:

  • Supraglottic laryngectomy: Involves removal of the supraglottis through the mouth/neck
  • Partial laryngectomy: It involves partial removal of the larynx
  • Total laryngectomy: The whole larynx is removed via the neck
  • Cordectomy: A procedure that involves the removal of part or all of a vocal cord, typically through the mouth
  • Hemilaryngectomy: This procedure removes half of the larynx, helping in preserving your voice
  • Thyroidectomy: This procedure involves the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland
  • Laser surgery: A tumour is removed in a bloodless operation with a laser beam