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Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer

  • What is Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer?

    Laryngeal cancer, or cancer of the larynx or voice box, typically refers to an abnormal growth of tissue in the larynx. This growth is called a tumour and develops when the cells in the larynx divide uncontrollably and produce extra tissue. Laryngeal cancer can occur on or above the vocal cords. This form of cancer is a common head and neck cancer in Singapore and is strongly associated with smoking.

    There are three types of laryngeal cancer:

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

    • A lump in the neck
    • Bloody nasal discharge
    • Difficult or painful swallowing
    • Earache
    • Voice changes or hoarseness
  • The treatment of laryngeal cancer depends on the part of the larynx 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 best outcome.

    • If your cancer is still in the primary stages and hasn’t metastasised yet to regional sites, either surgical excision of the tumour or radiation therapy can treat your cancer.
    • If your cancer has reached an advanced stage or has metastasised to regional sites, surgical resection of the tumour is done, followed by combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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