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Larynx Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment London

Tumours of the larynx (voicebox) and the hypopharyx (area surrounding this) are more common than oral cancer. They occur more in men than women and usually occur in the middle aged and elderly. They are very frequently associated with smoking and the tumours are almost always squamous cell carcinomas.

The symptoms experienced by each patient varies, typically cancer of the larynx presents as a hoarse voice.

Symptoms of Larynx Cancer

It may also present as a long standing history of a sore throat, a strange feeling in the throat with perhaps a cough and sometimes in the case of hypopharnx tumours a difficulty in swallowing. As these tumours are “unseen” they may even present as a lump in the neck.

Diagnosis of Larynx Cancer

Depending on the tumor location, some larynx cancers can be found early. Cancer that forms on the vocal cords (not above or below) is often diagnosed early because of the hoarseness caused.
Clinical examination may reveal enlarged glands or lymph nodes in the neck which would mean the tumor had spread.

Tests include:

• A flexible scope in the clinic with local anaesthetic spray to examine the larynx
• CT scanning to look at the size of the tumour and the possibility of spread in the neck and or elsewhere
• Examination under anaesthesia to clearly visualize the larynx
• Routine blood tests to detect anaemia for example
• Ultrasound with aspiration of cells from any lumps in the neck

Staging

Staging is the process of finding out how far the cancer has spread. This is very important because the type of treatment and the outlook for recovery depend on the stage of the cancer.
The staging system most often used for laryngeal cancer is the TNM staging system, also known as the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) system. For further information click here

For early stage laryngeal cancers (stages I-II), most patients respond equally well to surgery or radiation treatment. For intermediate stage cancers (stages II-III), a combination of radiation and chemotherapy or radiation and surgery provide the best opportunity to preserve the larynx. Depending on the location and size of the tumor, some patients may undergo radiation or surgery alone.