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Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer

  • What is Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer?

    Laryngeal cancer or cancer of the larynx (voice box) usually refers to an abnormal growth of tissue in the larynx. This growth is called a tumour and develops when the cells in the larynx divide uncontrollably to produce extra tissue. Laryngeal cancer can occur on, above or below the vocal cords. This form of cancer 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
    • Difficult 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 the cancer is still in its early stages and has not spread, either surgical removal of the tumour or radiation therapy will be suggested as a treatment.
    • If the cancer has reached an advanced stage or has spread, surgical removal of the tumour is done, followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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