Laryngeal cancer or “throat cancer” is a preventable disease because the risk factors associated with laryngeal cancers are all modifiable behaviors. The majority (90%) of head and neck cancers result after an exposure to a carcinogen (cancer causing substance) resulting in squamous cell carcinoma (SCCA).
Anyone with these signs or symptoms, and having risks for laryngeal cancer, should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist).
The best treatment is prevention. Avoiding the risk factors, even second hand smoke is the best measure.
A thorough head and neck evaluation in the office is done first. A tissue diagnosis obtained in the operating room is needed. Very early cancers confined to the vocal cord surface can occasionally be treated with an excisional biopsy (removal of the entire lesion at the time of biopsy). Usually a thorough surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments is needed.
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