Laryngeal Cancer is a type of throat cancer where the proliferation of cancer cells usually takes place in the larynx a.k.a voice box. The larynx is usually a short, triangular passageway just below the pharynx region in the neck. The width of the larynx is about 2 inches. The larynx is primarily made up of cartilage, a flexible tissue that creates a supportive framework for the neck. It has three parts: mainly the supraglottis (upper region), glottis (middle region) and subglottis (lower region). The main function of the larynx is to help one speak, breathe, and swallow. Laryngeal cancer is just a segment of a group of head and neck cancers.

Also Read: Oesophageal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer is usually a fast-spreading one and can damage the voice and nearby organs if not treated on time.  


Although the exact cause of laryngeal cancer is yet to be discovered, most research has surfaced that it happens when there are certain changes or mutations in the genetic code of the DNA. These mutations cause the cells to grow and increase uncontrollably. These abnormal cells instead of dying keep accumulating to form a tumorous mass of cells in the larynx region leading to cancer.

Risk Factors

Certain causative factors that increase the risk of laryngeal cancer include:

Age: Laryngeal cancer is commonly noticed in adults between the ages of 30-50

Gender: It is more common in men than the women’s counterpart

Poor Nutrition: A diet lacking essential nutrients, fruits and vegetables and mainly comprising of processed, salt-cured foods, i.e., fish, meat and vegetables intensifies the risk of this type of cancer

Family History: The risk of laryngeal cancer increases if one or more members of the family have been discovered with this type of cancer or throat cancer in the past

Viral Infection: The common HMV or Human Papillomavirus upsurges the chances of getting this cancer

Unhealthy Addiction: Extreme consumption of tobacco or alcohol maximises the risk of laryngeal cancer

Metal Exposure: Long-term exposure to toxins like asbestos ups the risk of laryngeal cancer

Also Read: Nasopharyngeal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment


Unlike other forms of throat cancer, the characteristic signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer are easy to detect. These include:

  • Change in the voice
  • Hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • A constant need to clear the throat
  • A persistent cough (often accompanied by blood)
  • Difficulty in swallowing (i.e. dysphagia)
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Wheezing
  • Ear pain
  • Neck pain
  • Neck swelling
  • Lumps in the neck and throat

Diagnosis And Treatment

On witnessing any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, do consult a doctor right away to detect cancer at an early stage, so that the treatment can be started right away. The doctor usually does a thorough body check-up, affirms the patient's past medical history, followed by a series of diagnostics including:

  • Laryngoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Imaging procedures like CT-scan, MRI-scan, PET-scan, X-ray, and Barium swallow


After appropriately staging throat cancer, the doctor usually decides the best possible way to deal with the tumour to give a better life to the patient. The available treatment options include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Surgery: Surgical procedure either removed part or all of the larynx region. Surgical options include Endoscopic surgery, Cordectomy, Supraglottic laryngectomy, Hemilaryngectomy, Partial Laryngectomy, Total Laryngectomy, Thyroidectomy and Laser surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Palliative care