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Laryngeal Cancer (Throat)

  • What is laryngeal cancer?

    Laryngeal cancer refers to an abnormal growth of tissue in the larynx (voice box that holds the vocal cords and forms an air passage to the lungs). This growth develops when the cells in the larynx divide uncontrollably and produce extra tissue to form a tumour. Laryngeal cancer can occur on the vocal cords or above them. It is a common head and neck cancer in Singapore and is strongly linked with smoking.

    There are 3 types of laryngeal cancer:

    • Glottic cancer that affects the vocal cords themselves
    • Supraglottic cancer that affects tissues above the vocal cords
    • Subglottic cancer that affects tissues below the vocal cords
  • Tobacco smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are the main risk factors of laryngeal cancer.

    • A lump in the neck
    • Bloody nasal discharge
    • Difficulty or painful swallowing
    • Earache
    • Voice changes or hoarseness
  • The treatment of laryngeal cancer depends on where the cancer is located, the cancer stage, and your overall, general health. A team of specialist surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists will evaluate your condition and suggest an individualised treatment plan in order to achieve the ideal outcome.

    • If your cancer is still in the primary (early) stages and hasn't metastasised (spread) to regional sites (other parts of your body), either surgical excision (removal) of the tumour or radiation therapy will be recommended to treat your cancer.
    • If your cancer has reached an advanced stage or has spread to other parts of the body, surgical resection (removal) of the tumour is done, followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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