Larynx Cancer (Throat Cancer)
Throat cancer (larynx cancer) facts*
*Throat cancer (larynx cancer) facts Medically Edited by: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
- The larynx is the voice box located at the top of the
- Cancer of the larynx occurs most often in people over the
age of 55
- People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk of
- Painless hoarseness can be a symptom of cancer of the
- The larynx can be examined with a viewing tube called a
- Treatment of cancer of the larynx depends on the location
and size of
the tumor as well as the age and health of the patient.
- Cancer of the larynx is usually treated with radiation
surgery. Chemotherapy can also be used for cancers that have
What is the larynx?
The larynx is an organ in your throat. It's at the front of your
This organ is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide, which is about the
size of a lime.
The larynx is also called the voice box. It has two bands of muscle
that form the vocal cords. The cartilage at the front of the larynx is
sometimes called the Adam's apple.
The larynx has three main parts:
- Top: The top part of the larynx is the supraglottis.
- Middle: The
middle part is the glottis. Your vocal cords are in this part.
The bottom part is the subglottis. It connects to the windpipe
Your larynx opens or closes to allow you to breathe, talk, or swallow:
- Breathing: When you hold your breath, your vocal cords shut tightly. When you
let out your breath or breathe in, your vocal cords relax and open.
Your larynx makes the sound of your voice. When you talk, your vocal cords
tighten and move closer together. Air from your lungs is forced between the
cords and makes them vibrate. The vibration makes the sound. Your tongue, lips,
and teeth form this sound into words.
- Swallowing: Your larynx protects your
lungs from food and liquid. When you swallow, a flap called the epiglottis
covers the opening of your larynx to keep food and liquid out of your lungs. The
picture below shows how food or liquid passes through the esophagus on its way
from the mouth to the stomach.
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