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Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer

  • What is Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer?

    Laryngeal cancer, or cancer of the larynx or voice box, usually 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 linked with smoking.

    There are 3 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 drinking too much alcohol 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 where the cancer is located, the cancer stage, and overall general health. A team of specialist surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists (cancer specialists), pathologists (disease specialist) and radiologists (radiation specialists) will assess the condition and suggest a customised treatment plan to achieve the best outcome.

    • If the cancer is still in the early stages and hasn’t spread, either surgical removal of the tumour or radiation therapy will be suggested as treatment.
    • If the cancer has reached an advanced stage or has spread, surgical removal of the tumour is done, followed by combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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