Larynx Cancer (cont.)

What are treatment options for larynx cancer?

People with early laryngeal cancer may be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. People with advanced laryngeal cancer may have a combination of treatments. For example, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are often given at the same time. Targeted therapy is another option for some people with advanced laryngeal cancer.

The choice of treatment depends mainly on your general health, where in your larynx the cancer began, and whether the cancer has spread.

You may have a team of specialists to help plan your treatment. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat laryngeal cancer include:

  • Ear, nose, and throat doctors (otolaryngologists)
  • General head and neck surgeons
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists

Other health care professionals who work with the specialists as a team may include a dentist, plastic surgeon, reconstructive surgeon, speech-language pathologist, oncology nurse, registered dietitian, and mental health counselor.

Your health care team can describe your treatment choices, the expected results of each, and the possible side effects. You'll want to consider how treatment may affect eating, swallowing, and talking, and whether treatment will change the way you look during and after treatment. You and your health care team can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.

Before, during, and after cancer treatment, you can have supportive care to control pain and other symptoms, to relieve the side effects of treatment, and to ease emotional concerns. Information about supportive care is available on NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping.

Also, NCI's Cancer Information Service can answer your questions about supportive care. Call 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237). Or chat using LiveHelp, NCI's instant messaging service, at http://www.cancer.gov/livehelp.

You may want to talk with your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are research studies testing new treatments. They are an important option for people with all stages of laryngeal cancer.

You may want to ask your doctor these questions before you begin treatment:

  • How large is the tumor? What is the stage of the disease? Has the tumor grown outside the larynx or spread to other organs?
  • What are my treatment choices? Do you suggest surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments? Why?
  • What are the expected benefits of each kind of treatment?
  • What is my chance of keeping my voice with surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatments?
  • What can I do to prepare for treatment?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment? How can side effects be managed?
  • What is the treatment likely to cost? Will my insurance cover it?
  • How will treatment affect my normal activities?
  • Is a research study (clinical trial) a good choice for me?
  • Can you recommend a doctor who could give me a second opinion about my treatment options?
  • How often should I have checkups?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2014

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