Larynx Cancer (cont.)
The symptoms of laryngeal cancer depend mainly on the size and location
of the tumor. Common symptoms of laryngeal cancer include:
- A hoarse voice or other voice changes for more than 3 weeks
- A sore throat or trouble swallowing for more than 6 weeks
- A lump in the neck
Other symptoms may include:
- Trouble breathing
- A cough that doesn't go away
- An earache that doesn't go away
These symptoms may be caused by laryngeal cancer or by other health problems.
People with these symptoms should tell their doctor so that any problem can be
diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
If you have symptoms that suggest laryngeal cancer, your doctor may do a
physical exam. Your doctor looks at your throat and feels your neck for
lumps, swelling, or other problems.
You may have one or more of the following tests:
- Indirect laryngoscopy: Your doctor uses a small mirror with a
long handle to see your throat and larynx. Your doctor will check whether
your vocal cords move normally when you make certain sounds. The test does
not hurt. To prevent you from gagging, your doctor may spray local
anesthesia on your throat. The test is usually done in your doctor's office.
- Direct laryngoscopy: Your doctor uses a lighted tube
(laryngoscope) to see your throat and larynx. The lighted tube can be
flexible or rigid:
- Flexible: Your doctor puts a flexible tube through your nose into
your throat. This test is usually done in your doctor's office with local
- Rigid: Your doctor puts a rigid tube through your mouth into your
throat. A tool on the rigid tube can be used to collect tissue samples. This
test may be done in your doctor's office, an outpatient clinic, or a
hospital. Usually, general anesthesia is used.
- Biopsy: The removal of a
small piece of tissue to look for cancer cells is called a biopsy. Usually,
tissue is removed with a rigid laryngoscope under general anesthesia. A
pathologist then looks at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer
cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if the abnormal area is cancer.
|If you need a biopsy, you may want to ask your doctor some of the following
- Why do I need a biopsy?
- How much tissue do you expect to remove?
- How long
will it take? Will I need general anesthesia?
- Are there any risks? What are the
chances of infection or bleeding after the biopsy? Will I lose my voice for a
- Will I be able to eat and drink normally after the biopsy?
- How long will
it take for my throat to heal?
- How soon will I know the results?
- If I do have
cancer, who will talk with me about treatment? When?
Viewers share their comments
Larynx Cancer - Describe Your Experience
Question: Please describe your experience with larynx cancer.