Cancer – throat or larynx

Alternative Names

Vocal cord cancer; Throat cancer; Laryngeal cancer; Cancer of the glottis

Definition of Cancer – throat or larynx

Cancer of the throat is cancer of the vocal cords, voice box (larynx), or other areas of the throat.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

People who smoke or otherwise use tobacco are at risk of developing throat cancer. Excessive alcohol use also increases risk. Smoking and drinking alcohol combined lead to an increased risk for throat cancers.

Signs and tests

An examination of the neck and throat may show cancer of the throat.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to completely remove the and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.

Expectations (prognosis)

Throat cancers can be cured in 90% of patients if detected early. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes in the neck, 50 – 60% of patients can be cured. If the cancer has spread (metastasized) to parts of the body outside the head and neck, the cancer is not curable and treatment is aimed at prolonging and improving quality of life.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/1/2010

Throat anatomy
Oropharynx

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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