Patient Comments: Larynx Cancer - Describe Your Experience

Question:

Please describe your experience with larynx cancer. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

In December of 2011 I became hoarse. Being an answering service operator and it being an extremely busy time of year for the business, I attributed the hoarseness to talking so much. In January of 2012 I had an appointment with my general physician (GP) just for a checkup and I mentioned to her that I had been hoarse and she immediately got me an appointment with an ENT doctor. The day of my appointment, after running a camera down my throat, he informed me that I had a tumor on my larynx and would need immediate surgery. I had a partial laryngectomy done with no chemotherapy or radiation afterwards because he and my cancer doctor thought they "had gotten it all" with the surgery. About 6 months later I started having pain on the left side of my neck, which my ENT doctor kept telling me was scar tissue. He finally did a PET scan and found that the throat cancer had returned and I had to have my voice box and thyroid removed. I then had 33 radiation treatments and 6 weeks of chemotherapy. That was a very rough time. I'm still suffering from dry mouth. I had a feeding tube for 9 months and lost 60 lbs. I was 59 years old when I was initially diagnosed and had been a smoker but had quit 7 years earlier. I was never a heavy drinker. I am in the process of getting a device where I can talk. I have a very loving family and strong support system that has helped me get through this. Don"t wait, see your doctor right away if you have any unusual symptoms. It could easily save your life!

Comment from: Megan, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

At 24 years old I had a hoarse voice for a few months. I never smoked and was not a drinker. I went to the general physician who referred me to an ENT. Because of my age and non-risk factors, it took them 3 months and 2 biopsies to diagnose stage II laryngeal caner. I started radiation and chemotherapy just before my 25th birthday. I underwent 7 weeks of daily radiation and 4 cycles of chemotherapy treatments. The chemotherapy didn't make me as ill as the anti-fungal medicine they prescribed for me to take... which I stopped taking because it made me so sick! I opted not to have a feeding/peg-tube inserted but managed to get down a few pieces of watermelon and an instant breakfast shake daily, even though I could hardly swallow. I carried around a water bottle as my spittoon because it was too painful to even swallow my own spit. After treatment I had another 9 cycles of IV fluids because I wasn't getting enough hydration (this helped my energy levels immensely!) I finished treatments in April of 2007, taste buds came back in August. Even 6 years on, dry mouth is still an everyday issue. My left vocal cord is now paralyzed from the treatments so I speak with a hoarse voice all the time. But I'm thankful that I'm alive and that I have any voice at all.

Comment from: Cupcake, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 29

I'm 46 year female. I went from April of 08 to Nov 08 with mild sore throat and bad cough, and some hoarseness. So from a promise I made to my family. I went to the ENT for him to let me know I had something suspicious. He immediately set me up with appointment with a specialist. There I was told of larynx cancer. Feb of 09 to late Mar I did my 7 wks of radiation and 1 day a wk for 5 wks of cemo. Also I had g-tube put in. I weighed in at 170 and come out 123. I was lucky not to be sick at the time of treatment. I got sick after lost a little more weight and lost my voice. My voice came back got the G-tube out Aug 6. Put some weight back on not a lot but was feeling good. Went in June for checkup for pet scan to find out it's gone. Everything is great. Dec. 09 I feel a little itchy in throat same symptoms. Its back and it's not good I don't think it ever went away. Radiation or cancer ate up my voice box I coughed up pieces of it. I was so scared. Well they took out the voice box, I now have a trac. And this all happened Feb 19 2010 I feel great now. I'm Alive and I thank God for that. I was a heavy drinker and smoker. I can say if you find yourself in my shoes. Keep a positive attitude pray and just take it day by day you'll make it. I still am not out of the woods but everything looks good. I have some procedures to undergo next week to get a voice. So we'll let ya know about that week after.

Comment from: loving wife, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 07

My husband suffered from hoarseness. No pain or difficulty breathing, just his voice was hoarse. This was for 4 months. He visited his doctor who said it was caused by stomach gases irritating the throat (heartburn) and prescribed gas medication. I finally made an appointment with the ENT and as soon as he looked into his throat he stated as calmly as you can that he had cancer! I must say that my husband had never been sick in his life. He is now 66 and this all happened when he was 64. Luckily we have a great ENT doctor and wasted no time in gettng him in the hospital the next day. he had a tracheostomy placed and a feeding tube in his stomach to prepare him for the treatments and side effects. He has had 35 rounds of radiation and 7 treatments of chemo. He could not eat or drink and I fed him through the tube, a special liquid diet and had to clean the trach twice a day. He also had a lot of phlegm and had to be suctioned as often as every hour. Not a pleasant thing for him. He has stopped smoking after 50 yrs. He never craves a cigarette and the food tastes better than ever. He is not out of the woods yet but is getting better every day. The lesson here is that we have to be more responsible for our own health and if one doctor does not have the right answer we have to search for another. They are only human and don't always have the right training to diagnose all symptoms.

Comment from: Senior Counselor, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 25

I had started experiencing hoarseness for about three months. I went to my doctor, and he was amazing. He told me because of my age, and the length of time I had the hoarseness, that it might be cancer. He also told me that he could not be certain without an ENT doctor doing tests on me, so he made the appointment. Sure enough, he was right. I was diagnosed with stage I cancer of the larynx, but because of early diagnosis, I have a 90% chance of recovery. I also had a chance to accept the diagnosis because I was warned so early. If you have any changes in your body or health, go to the doctor, and get it checked out.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
Comment from: texasmom, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

In February 2016 I started losing weight and my voice started getting deeper years ago. I'm a heavy smoker but drink very little. On Tuesday I had a biopsy and am waiting for the results sometime this week. They found 6 spots on my voice box. I'm pretty sure it's larynx cancer so I've got myself ready for bad news, and waiting for the results is horrible.

Comment from: Splat, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I am a 43 year old women who has found a lump in my throat. Thirteen years ago I had my thyroid removed and all was said to be fine. Over the last 6 months I was diagnosed with Meniere's disease and now this. I have had a CT scan to determine that a mass is present and awaiting appointment with ENT. I am so very scared. I have an eleven year old son, a wonderful husband, and a job I love. I am worried how this may change my life.

Comment from: rob p, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 04

I have had a hoarse voice for over 3 months and it hurts when I eat or drink. I went in to the ENT unit this evening where the doctor looked down my throat and has found what appears to be a growth. I have to go back next week for real tests. I am preying that it's not cancer. I am so scared. I also have to give up smoking after 20 years just like that. These are going to be the longest weeks of my life.

Comment from: Avic Vera, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 13

My mother had an operation in her larynx due to a mass (3/4 big) which prevented her from breathing well. Previous checkups showed that she had an asthma until her Doctor had a bronchoscopy which he saw the mass. It was Stage 3 and she was immediately operated after 5 days. She had a successful operation and the Doctor kept the voice box intact and explained that she will undergo radiation after a month. She was recovering fast but had difficulty with her cough due to mucus which according to the Doctor was normal due to the foreign body which was the tube in her throat. Unfortunately, 13 days after her operation, she had a cough and it had a blood on it. Immediately more blood followed and knowing that my mother had a high blood pressure she must have been so nervous. Unfortunately, she was declared dead on arrival in the hospital. It was a sad experience since we only knew it a few days before her operation hoping she will get well. I know she is already in heaven and rest in peace. My mother was a teacher so we were thinking that the cancer maybe due to continued used of her voice in her classroom, one factor was the chalk used in writing in the black board, she was also a passive smoker since my father and brother were smokers and lastly, after her retirement, she took care of our rice field which the doctor said could have triggered the asthma. I hope you learned something from my experience with my dear mother. Please do take care of your mother and father.

Comment from: Misty, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 14

I have been hoarse on and off for a long time but put my husky voice down to smoking nothing more sinister. In May I had a holiday booked with my sisters for 10 days and 2 weeks before it. I got a sore throat and ear on the left side. I went to the GP who could see nothing wrong but referred me to an ENT because of the loss of voice which I have to say dampened my holiday a lot. They rang me with an appointment which would have been during the holiday but gave me another for June 2nd he referred me on for further investigation which happened very quickly. I was taken in the following Tuesday for biopsies of the area, after it I was told I was borderline of the larynx cancer and would get the results of the biopsies in 3 weeks. I have to say that will be a week ago tomorrow (but feels like a lifetime). I have cut down on smoking but find it really difficult to stop and having to wait 3 weeks on results is not helping as I am stressed out. Will post more after the results.

Comment from: No More Old No. 7, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 01

I am a 53 married male. Five weeks ago I went to see my GP to follow up on some blood work that I was suppose to take care of 6 months earlier and because the glands in my neck were swollen. The doctor sent me in for blood work and an ultrasound. My blood work was normal, but the ultrasound showed a mass. Two days later during an ultrasound guided biopsy they found a second mass. Both masses were non-small cell carcinomas. My GP sent me to a EMT surgeon. The EMT doctor found the primary source of my cancer at the back of my tongue and against my voice box. Two days later I was in the operating room for another biopsy and possible surgery, but doctors elected not to do surgery due to the cancer was attached to my voice box. Since that time (10 days) I have had a PET scan, a PICC line installed and have met with both a radiation doctor and chemo doctor. I am scheduled to have a feeding tube put in next week and to start chemo and radiation on Tuesday. I am scheduled for radiation treatment 5 days a week for 7 weeks and chemo every three weeks for four treatments. If chemo and radiation cannot kill the cancer I am prepared for surgery and to have my voice box and the cancer removed. I only smoked for a short while (1 1/2 years) and have quit smoking since. I have not drank any alcohol for 14 months, but I was a very heavy drinker prior to that. I drank for 40 years, 25 of that heavily and the healthcare professionals I have spoke with have told me that the alcohol is the biggest contributor of my cancer. I am positive for HPV and as I understand it that helped my survival chances because the HPV virus seems to get effected by the chemo and radiation well. I am in good physical condition, I have a strong support group and I have a very positive attitude regarding this. Thank God I am sober and thank God that I found God before I was faced with cancer. While I was drinking I didn't care if I lived or died, now that I am sober and have a new way to live I want to live. With the help of loving friends, family, good doctors and faith in God I will make it.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
Comment from: silentangel, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

I had for over a year been trying to get a Dr. to tell me why I got so short of breath when I carried grocery bags in from the car. I couldn't walk across a parking lot because I would start wheezing. My primary care physician found nothing, she did a chest X-ray which was clear. I had an episode of tachycardia that sent me to the ER, the cardiologist ran a gamit of tests, with pictures and stress test(by medication because I have arthritis in my knees and can't do the treadmill)and just gave me meds to slow my heart rate and lower my blood pressure. I had used a CPAP machine for 10 years for sleep apnea and on morning I woke up and removed the CPAP mask and began coughing and could not stop. Shortly became hard to get a breath so was taken by family to the ER. There I was treated for asthma, which I have never had, and it didn't help. They sent me for a CT scan of my neck and immediately called in the ENT on call. He scoped my throat and told me I had cancer of the larynx and sent me straight to the OR to have tracheotomy as my airway was only about 3mm. He referred me to the Head and Neck Cancer Center in another city and two weeks later I had my laryngectomy. Other than the breathing difficulty I had no other symptoms, but am very disillusioned with the medical profession, that I could see several different specialists in a year's time and no-one ever checked my throat. The type of cancer I had was very slow growing so had been there for at least that years' time. Fortunately I did not require chemo or radiation and now am speaking with a TEP. I only smoked for about 2 yrs, more than 35 years ago, but lived with a heavy smoker for 16 years before that. Was told that the type of cancer I had was probably not caused by smoking, but they don't know what did cause it.

Comment from: GARY, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 07

I am a 42 year old male who had cancer of the larynx diagnosed in February of 1995. I had my entire vocal chords removed and 6 weeks of radiation. I had a stoma from which I breath from. It is now September, 2009 and I am still here. I was a very heavy smoker and drinker.

Comment from: Patti, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 24

Two months ago, my boyfriend was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (cancer in his voice box). He has never smoked, doesn't drink other than a beer, and doesn't have HPV. It is a mystery to the physicians. He was misdiagnosed by his ENT with stage 1, and when he went to his oncologist to start treatment, he was told it was stage 3. He has a full four days of chemo through a port every month for three months. He also has radiation therapy five times a week for 15 minutes. From the stories I read, this sounds like an alarming amount. He is ready to go nuts from the side effects, although he is diligent with his oral cleaning and rest.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 11

4 years ago I sent my boyfriend to and allergist because his voice was getting very rough and he had a "itch" cough that wouldn't go away. I couldn't stand him suffering if it wasn't necessary. They told us he had cancer of the larynx, it took my breath away. CANCER! We didn't know what to do. The doctors referred him to a cancer doctor, and another and another. It seemed hopeless, but we finally found one that worked. They told him that we caught it early so it looked good. He went in for radiation for 6 weeks. They said it should be gone, it wasn't. So they had him do chemo then 7 more weeks of radiation. It got rid of it alright. He finally got so fried that he coughed up his vocal cords little by little. It was the most painful thing for him and for me. I couldn't do anything to help. He can't even eat now, there's nothing to digest the food. They didn't take us seriously, until he was in the hospital with pneumonia because food and drinks went in his lungs so bad he almost died. He is now on a feeding tube, he can't drink pop, enjoy food or try his son's fresh baked cookies. He pumps in ensure 2 times a day for the rest of his life. He can't even take medicine with out grinding it up and then putting it in his "food", or swallow his own spit! So if you know someone who has been diagnosed with this please tell them how important it is to not smoke, drink, and try to take it slow. Research you doctors and please be involved in they're treatment, patients get lost and tossed to the side so easily. I was there every visit for the first 6 months then he wouldn't let me. I know he felt smothered, but it all went down hill after that.

Comment from: 43femalewithCANCER, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 27

I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx on Sept. 18, 2008 after seeing my family doctor in June, July, and August. My family doctor ran a throat culture and determined that I had a bacterial infection on the throat, and after several rounds of antibiotics, he told me that it was just a bacterial infection, and it would go away on its own. He said I wouldn't have any more problems with it. On the last visit to my family doctor, with severe pain in my throat, he advised me that he couldn't find anything and recommended me to an ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor). On Sept. 11, 2008, I had an appointment with my ENT and he sent me in to get an immediate biopsy of my throat. After the biopsy, he informed my fiancé, and my mother that I do indeed have cancer of the larynx. I am in stage 4 of the cancer, and I have started with the radiation and chemotherapy. I have radiation five days a week now and chemo one day a week. I have also developed thrush in my mouth, tonsils, and tongue and cheeks ... and I am in severe pain. I am uncertain as to how long I have had cancer as I was diagnosed with "just" a bacterial infection after seeing my family doctor for months. I am on my third week of radiation and chemotherapy ... and I am not sure how much longer I will be undergoing both. It terrifies me to know that if I would have been diagnosed sooner, I would more than likely be getting better sooner. Also, I am a 43-year-old female with no children, and at times I feel like a walking pharmacy with all the medicines that I am on.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
Comment from: kate, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 06

My husband had been a heavy smoker for many years and developed a hoarse voice, had it for almost a year and thought it was just the smoking. He then noticed a very small lump on the side of his neck. Our GP sent him to an ENT specialist who performed a visual and saw a growth on the larynx. A biopsy was performed and he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the larynx and it had spread into cells in the neck. This was in September 2009. The oncologists in our small town decided against surgery (thereby saving his voice box) and opted for chemo and radiation. He had chemo , followed by 7 weeks of daily radiation. A feeding tube was put in his stomach and I fed him through a tube for a year. When he could eat He totally lost all taste, he said everything tasted like cardboard. Now just over 2 years after treatment ended, his voice is normal and some of his taste has returned. Strangely he now doesn't like some foods he used to love and loves some he hated before. Today he went to the hospital for his follow up (scans, X-rays and blood tests) if everything is Ok he does not have to see the cancer doctor for a year.

Comment from: linda, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 10

My husband had larynx cancer and had his voice box removed in July of 2008. In August of 2009, the cancer spread from his spine to his ribs and to his liver. He passed away six weeks later. The doctor was treating him for muscle spasms and never checked him for cancer because he was supposed to be clear of it when they eventually found it again in 2009. They said there was no cure; he was only 50 years old.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 11

I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in September. I had surgery to remove the tumor and to remove a small piece under my tongue in October. I started radiation in November thru January. The doctors told me up to July that the cancer was gone. Suddenly, in July the doctor said that the cancer was back. I then had a biopsy and a PET scan to be certain. The cancer was back, I had endoscopic surgery to remove the cancer in November. Well, in February the doctor said that the cancer was back and that they wanted to remove the entire voice box. Well, I don't know what to do because the doctors keep saying that this will take care of the cancer and that will take care of the cancer. I just keep praying that God will tell me what to do next. In the meantime, I am trying to eat foods that slow the growth of cancer, i.e. cabbage, spinach, berries, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.

Comment from: Zahoor, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 05

I have been diagnosed with neoplasm pyriform sinus from a CT Scan. Two biopsies did not confirm it. But from my FODL and history the doctors are convinced it is a malignancy. I am waiting for the tumor to grow and show positive on biopsy as only then the treatment plan will work. But by the time it grows enough to be reported pathologically, I am afraid it will go in a higher stage and the prognosis will decline. What is the answer to that/ can anybody tell? I am a doctor by profession by the way.

Comment from: rafefour, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 05

I have just learned of my dear friend's death 12 years after he died from stage four laryngeal cancer. I do not know all the details of his struggle but the shock of learning of his death so long after the fact has left me with so much guilt of having assumed he would always be there. He was an Art Director in New York and settled upon early retirement in Martinez, California. His influence on me as a young man was profound and has inspired me for all this time. Your journey with this disease and your struggle to survive has taught me a great deal about the value of every life and the bravery of each individual. I appreciate your lives and your stories of strength and humanity.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 17

My husband is a Vietnam Veteran who has been fighting throat cancer for three years, He has had his voice box removed, most of his tongue, lymph nodes in his neck, and upper and lower jaws. He was exposed to Agent Orange and being on aircraft carriers, believes he was exposed to asbestos.

Comment from: IRISHGIRL, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 22

Hi I was diagnosed 8 months ago I always had sore throats went to the doctor every month. Finally he said to go to ENT Dr. It immediately he said it was larynx cancer he would have to do a biopsy. The results were cancer so I went through radiation for 3 months my head with a mask on it locked to a table also I was receiving chemo I could only do 3 of those I could not handle the chemo it made me too sick. A miracle I was feeling great for three weeks it was totally shrunk now I was losing weight my throat too sore to eat all I did was sleep. After more antibiotics and steroids for 3 more months I had to go to a specialist. Everything went fast tests and cat scans and tests 3 more months surgery full larynx and lymph nodes 2 months later I am walking in to get my prosthesis put in I am amazed to eat again I no longer smoke. I will let you know how it goes. I lost 68 lbs in 9 months I am 5ft 11 I went down to 115 lbs I am told all the cancer is gone. Not talking for 2 months is the most humbling experience. I wish anyone who has to go through this all the best keep positive there will be highs and lows just remember this is one of the few cancers that you can beat.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
Published: February 25

I watched my grandma die of larynx and lung cancer, I watched her learn to use the buzzing thing that you place to your neck after she had the laryngeal surgery when they take out your voice box so she could speak again. I watched her fight for 2 years, day by day from chemo, to radiation, to the surgeries. All do to smoking cigarettes. Tell me now smokers, does that sound worth it??

Comment from: teddy62, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 25

My husband smoked for 30 years up to three packs a day and he used to drink a lot as well he is 65 as of December 10, but for the last two years he had a cough which disturbed me to the point that I took it upon myself to call his doctor on the telephone and tell the nurse that my husband has Parkinson's disease and he is not going to ask the doctor to run some series of test on my husband because of his smoking history, well the doctor did not call me and he did not do any testing on my husband, he avoided my request, and did not call me to discuss my concerns he told my husband he was ok and gave him medicine for a cough and a breath thing to breath though so for two years my husband stopped coughing as much and his voice is now hoarse, the doctor gave him antibiotics for ten days and sent him on his way well the antibiotics did nothing for George, so he sent him for testing on his throat the doctor we went to check George and said it looks like cancer but he is having him do an endoscopy and he will remove the growth off his right larynex and do a bio and if it is cancer he will need radiation, I am so hurt behind this because this did not have to get this far if the doctor had respected my wishes.

Comment from: Jay larynx, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 25

About 15 years ago, I began loosing my voice whenever I'd talk and also constantly coughed without being sick. About 3 years ago I began chocking on fluids only. About a year ago I now begin to choke even when swallowing saliva. I have had a CT of the neck performed and everything seems to be OK. Except there is a number of small nonspecific lymph nodes found in the posterior triangular region and along the intraarticular chain and also in the submandibular and submental regions bilaterally. I don't know what this means, but since I have been welding for about 16 years, I feel that eventually my symptoms may turn into cancer if not already present.

Comment from: Hope, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 25

As same as the first ladies comment my husband was told the same thing now he had the throat camara and the ENT said he sees something witch could very well be cancer so our primary doctor sent us to the cleveland clinic where we have a second opinion on Feb.5th. I would wish after all these years of hoarseness and sore throats it would have been caught earlier he has quit smoking but is depressed and terrified as so am I. I will write more after biopsy.

Comment from: Cecilio, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: February 25

My husband was treated with chemo and radiation for cancer of the trachea. After treatment he became very short of breath and they had to perform a tracheotomy since his vocal cords seem to have been damaged and they barely open. The flap that covers the trachea and the esophagus does not open and close and the liquid and small particles of food that he drinks seeps to the trachea causing him to be cough quite a bit. He also has a tremendous amount of phlegm which leaks from the stoma and he also has to be suctioned.

Comment from: mike easton, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: November 05

I've got phlegm but it's not too thick and my throat is sore and I'm swallowing ok but the breathing is a little bit difficult.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
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