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Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer

  • What is Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer?

    Laryngeal cancer refers to an abnormal growth of tissue in the larynx (voice box that holds the vocal cords and forms an air passage to the lungs). This growth develops when the cells in the larynx divide uncontrollably and produce extra tissue to form a tumour. Laryngeal cancer can occur on, above or below the vocal cords. It is a common head and neck cancer in Singapore and is strongly linked to smoking.

    There are 3 types of laryngeal cancer:

    • Glottic cancer that affects the vocal cords
    • Supraglottic cancer that affects tissues above the vocal cords
    • Subglottic cancer that affects tissues below the vocal cords
  • Tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are the main risk factors of laryngeal cancer.

    • A lump in the neck
    • Bloody nasal discharge
    • Difficulty or painful swallowing
    • Earache
    • Voice changes or hoarseness
  • The treatment of laryngeal cancer depends on where the cancer is located in the larynx, the cancer stage and your general health. A team of specialist surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists (cancer specialists), pathologists (disease specialists) and radiologists (radiation specialists) will assess the condition and suggest a suitable treatment plan.

    • If your cancer is still in the primary (early) stages and has not spread to other parts of your body, either surgical excision (removal) of the tumour or radiation therapy are able to treat your cancer.
    • If your cancer has reached an advanced stage or has spread to other parts of the body, surgical resection (removal) of the tumour is done, followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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