Cancer of the voice box (larynx), sometimes referred to as throat cancer or laryngeal cancer, occurs when cells in the larynx become abnormal and grow out of control. Cancer of the larynx usually starts in very thin, flat cells (squamous cells) that line the outside of the larynx. Cancer cells can spread and form a mass of cells called a tumor. The cancer may spread deeper into the larynx, or it may spread to other areas of the body (metastasize).
This condition often affects one or both of the smooth, fiber-like cords that stretch across the opening of the larynx (vocal cords). The vocal cords make up the glottis, which opens and closes when you breathe to let air through your throat, and vibrates to make sounds when you talk. Laryngeal cancer may also affect other areas of the larynx, including the area above the vocal cords (supraglottis), and the area between the vocal cords and the windpipe (subglottis).
The cause of cancer of the larynx is not known.
This condition is more likely to develop in:
• People who use tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. Tobacco use is the number one risk factor of cancer of the tonsils.
• People who are older than 50 years.
• People who drink alcohol excessively. People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at an even higher risk.
• People who have human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
• People who have reflux esophagitis. In this condition, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach (esophagus) becomes inflamed when stomach acid regularly backs up into the esophagus.
• People who have been exposed to radiation, asbestos, or wood dust.
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... a device to speak.
A combination of radiation, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and surgery may be used for stage III, stage IV, and recurrent cancers.
• Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
• Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking prescription pain medicine.
• Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
• Work with your health care provider to manage side effects of treatment.
• Maintain a healthy diet.
• Do not use tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
• Do not use alcohol.
• Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.
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