Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal Cancer

Possible Signs of Laryngeal Cancer

These and other symptoms may be caused by laryngeal cancer or by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

  • Hoarseness
  • A sore throat or cough that does not go away
  • Coughing up of blood or bloody sputum
  • Trouble or pain when swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • A lump in the neck or throat

Types of Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer is closely related to hypopharngeal and cervical esophageal cancer.

Physical exam of the throat and neck

Laryngoscopy

Endoscopy

Endoscopy

A procedure to look at organs and tissues inside the body to check for abnormal areas. An endoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through through the mouth and into the throat, esophagus, and trachea. Tissue samples may be taken for biopsy.

CT scan (CAT scan)

MRI

Biopsy

What Is a Biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure in which tissue samples are removed from the body by a needle or during surgery, for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present.

By examining and performing tests on the biopsy sample, pathologists and other experts can determine what kind of cancer is present, whether it is likely to be fast or slow growing, and what genetic abnormalities it may have. This information is important in deciding the best type of treatment. Open surgery is sometimes performed to obtain a biopsy, but in most cases, tissue samples can be obtained without open surgery using interventional radiology techniques.

Some biopsies can be performed in a doctor’s office, while others need to be done in a hospital setting. Most biopsies require use of an anesthetic to numb the area and may require sedation.

Upper GI series (barium swallow)

Barium Swallow / Upper Gastrointestinal Series

A barium swallow (also called an upper gastrointestinal (GI) series) is a diagnostic test that examines the organs of the upper part of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). A fluid called barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an X-ray) is swallowed. X-rays are then taken to evaluate the digestive organs.

Stage 0 laryngeal cancer

Abnormal cells are found in the lining of the larynx. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage 1 laryngeal cancer

In stage 1, cancer has formed. Stage 1 laryngeal cancer depends on where cancer began in the larynx:

  • Supraglottis: Cancer is in one area of the supraglottis only and the vocal cords can move normally.
  • Glottis: Cancer is in one or both vocal cords and the vocal cords can move normally.
  • Subglottis: Cancer is in the subglottis only.

Stage 2 laryngeal cancer

In stage 2, cancer is in the larynx only. Stage 2 laryngeal cancer depends on where cancer began in the larynx:

  • Supraglottis: Cancer is in more than one area of the supraglottis or surrounding tissues.
  • Glottis: Cancer has spread to the supraglottis and/or the subglottis and/or the vocal cords cannot move normally.
  • Subglottis: Cancer has spread to one or both vocal cords, which may not move normally.

Stage 3 laryngeal cancer

Stage 3 laryngeal cancer depends on whether cancer has spread from the supraglottis, glottis, or subglottis.

In stage 3 cancer of the supraglottis:

  • Cancer is in the larynx only and the vocal cords cannot move, and/or cancer is in tissues next to the larynx. Cancer may have spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller; or
  • Cancer is in one area of the supraglottis and in one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor; the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller and the vocal cords can move normally; or
  • Cancer is in more than one area of the supraglottis or surrounding tissues and in one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor; the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller.

In stage 3 cancer of the glottis:

  • Cancer is in the larynx only and the vocal cords cannot move, and/or cancer is in tissues next to the larynx; cancer may have spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller; or
  • Cancer is in one or both vocal cords and in one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor; the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller and the vocal cords can move normally; or
  • Cancer has spread to the supraglottis and/or the subglottis and/or the vocal cords cannot move normally. Cancer has also spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller.

In stage 3 cancer of the subglottis:

  • Cancer is in the larynx and the vocal cords cannot move; cancer may have spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller; or
  • Cancer is in the subglottis and in one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor; the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller; or
  • Cancer has spread to one or both vocal cords, which may not move normally. Cancer has also spread to one lymph node on the same side of the neck as the original tumor and the lymph node is 3 centimeters or smaller.

Stage 4 laryngeal cancer

Stage 4 is divided into stage IVA, stage IVB, and stage IVC. Each substage is the same for cancer in the supraglottis, glottis, or subglottis.

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