Treatment Options For Laryngeal Cancer

Of all cancers that affect the upper aerodigestive tract, laryngeal cancer is the most common. Head and neck tumors, in general, are closely correlated with smoking, developing cancerous cells six times more often in cigarette smokers compared to those who do not smoke. It also appears there is a connection between laryngeal cancer and the cumulative of cigarettes smoked over time; those classified as heavy smokers are twenty times more likely to die from laryngeal cancer than those who do not smoke. Additionally, continuing to smoke while suffering from neck cancer appears to increase the rate at which a second primary tumor develops. As such, there is an increasing amount of evidence that smoking as little as possible, ideally not at all, lowers the risk of avoiding this cancer. Of course, should laryngeal cancer develop, it must be treated effectively. Get to know some of the major treatment options now.



Radiation therapy relies on high-energy gamma rays or x-rays to target and kill cancer cells. This form of therapy may be done in several ways when treating laryngeal cancer. A procedure may be avoided if the cancer is small, for example, so the therapy may be done as the primary treatment method if the doctor feels this alone can kill cancer without sacrificing voice quality. Radiation is also done when the patient is too sick to undergo an invasive medical procedure, or as an additional line of defense after a procedure. It may also be used as supportive or palliative care to relieve the severity of symptoms if the cancer has spread to the bones. Radiation around the throat can have an impact on gums and teeth, which means it's a good idea to see a dentist before beginning treatment. This will allow you to evaluate the status of your current oral health, which lets the dentist discover any new problems that occur as a result of the therapy, such as damage to the teeth or the development of an infection.

Continue reading to learn more about how laryngeal cancer is treated.



Another method of treatment sometimes used to treat laryngeal cancer is immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, which is performed to help strengthen the immune system and give it back its ability to fight against cancer. Immunotherapy may be prescribed to treat metastatic cancer should the disease no longer respond to other methods or any of the medications designed to fight cancer. The most common immunotherapy medication is applied in the arm through an intravenous line (IV) once every two weeks. Your doctor and support team will work closely with you and your needs when determining when to take which medication, how much of it, and how often. Other treatments may also be provided.

As with any other kind of laryngeal cancer, side effects may occur with immunotherapy, such as nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, itchy skin, rash, and diarrhea. Of course, the exact side effects will depend on which medication you are taking, and whether or not you are susceptible to side effects in the first place; some patients experience none at all.

Continue reading to learn about surgery as an option for treating laryngeal cancer.



Surgeons commonly perform procedures as a part of treating laryngeal cancer, along with other types. Depending on the stage, type of cancer, exact location, and the state of the surrounding tissues, there are different kinds of operations used to remove cancer and potentially other tissue around the throat. In nearly all surgeries, the goal is to remove all cancer along with a thin margin surrounding it. An operation might be all patients need if the laryngeal cancer is caught early, or it can be used with other treatments if the disease has progressed to a later stage. After, there may be a reconstructive procedure done to improve the area's function and appearance, if necessary. An endoscopic procedure involves passing an endoscope down the throat to locate the cancer, which can be done in the early cancer stages. Later stages may require a cordectomy, which removes part or all of the vocal cords, which naturally will have an effect on speech from hoarseness to an inability to speak.

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Targeted Therapy


As the name suggests, targeted therapy relies on medicine that targets specific parts of cancer that allow it to grow. This might sound like what the other kinds of treatments do, but they're specifically designed to target proteins or cell functions within the cancer cells, allowing them to succeed where other methods may not. It is also possible to experience fewer severe side effects on this type of therapy. Targeted therapy is also known as a monoclonal antibody, and it is a copy of an immune system protein grown in the lab. This allows doctors to help the body create more antibodies that are attracted to specific cancer cell targets, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor. EGFR is found in high concentration at the surface of cancer cells, allowing them to spread throughout the body. By blocking the receptors, it is possible to stop further growth. Some of the common side effects include a headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, acne on the face and chest, and diarrhea.

Keep on reading to learn more about treating laryngeal cancer effectively.



Also known simply as chemo, chemotherapy relies on anti-cancer medicine given either orally or intravenously. Either way, the medication enters the blood and carries the active ingredients throughout the body, making it a good choice for any cancer that has spread. It is possible your doctor will recommend this for laryngeal cancer for many reasons and in many ways. For example, it may be used as a primary treatment method in the form of chemoradiation, which can help kill cancer without the need for an invasive procedure that would potentially render the patient unable to speak. It may also be done after a procedure to kill off any small remaining areas of cancer that could not be cut out or was missed. In this situation, it is known as an adjuvant treatment. Likewise, it might be used before surgery to help reduce the size of an existing tumor to help make the procedure easier.


    HealthPrep Staff