Laryngeal cancer is associated with heavy smoking and alcohol intake.
- Hoarseness – progressive hoarseness is the commonest symptom of laryngeal cancer. Any hoarseness of more than 3 weeks should be investigated.
- Shortness of breath – as the tumor grows, breathing becomes more difficult
- Stridor – this is a wheezing sound when the patient breathes in and out. It means the airway is narrowed and usually means the disease is advanced.
- Blood-stained phlegm
- Neck lump
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) – Locally advanced cancers can spread towards the pharynx and esophagus and affect swallowing
Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. In most cancers, radiotherapy is the first line treatment. Chemotherapy is usually added for advanced cancers while surgery is saved for recurrent disease.