Laryngeal cancer is a malignant neoplasm that forms in the pharynx or larynx under the influence of negative factors. According to statistics, a tumor is 8-10 times more common in men. In the absence of timely treatment, the pathology can spread to other tissues and organs. Non-invasive cancer (localized within the larynx) is easier to treat than invasive cancer.
Main types and stages
Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx is most often diagnosed. Glandular cancer, basal cell carcinoma and other types of neoplasms on a histological basis are found in 2-3% of all cases.
Depending on the localization of the tumor, the following types of laryngeal cancer are distinguished:
supra-ligamentous region (upper section);
ligamentous area (middle section);
subglottic region (lower section).
Depending on the degree of spread of the tumor process, 4 stages are distinguished:
The first stage – the neoplasm is localized in the submucous layer of the larynx. Usually it is asymptomatic.
The second stage – the tumor grows on one part of the larynx, but does not go beyond it.
The third stage is divided into two subcategories – 3A and 3B. In the first case, the tumor affects other parts of the larynx and increases significantly in size, in the second, malignant cells affect the lymph nodes and adjacent tissues.
The fourth stage – an extensive tumor occupies almost the entire space of the larynx. Metastases in distant organs are also diagnosed.
How does laryngeal cancer manifest?
Symptoms of the disease directly depend on the location of the tumor, but the first signs of laryngeal cancer are usually as follows:
a cough that does not go away for a long time;
hoarseness and other changes in voice;
sensation of a foreign body in the throat;
discomfort when swallowing.
As the neoplasm grows, the symptoms of laryngeal cancer intensify. Often worried about a sore throat, which increases with eating food, there are swallowing disorders and general signs of cancer intoxication: weakness, fatigue, increased body temperature.
In most cases, diagnosis is carried out using the following methods:
laryngoscopy (direct and indirect);
determination of the level of tumor markers, etc.
An integrated approach allows not only to establish the origin of the tumor, but also to accurately determine its location, size, etc.
Treatment regimen and prognosis
Treatment of cancer of the larynx without surgery is usually impossible, since patients seek medical help when the tumor reaches an impressive size. Surgery to remove cancer of the larynx in the early stages can be performed with the preservation of the organ. In advanced stages, laryngectomy is performed (removal of the larynx). To restore voice functions, a voice endoprosthesis is used in the future.
Radiation therapy is carried out before surgery in order to reduce the size of the tumor and after it, in order to prevent relapse. Chemotherapy is often used for cancer of the larynx, especially in advanced pathology. New methods of treatment for laryngeal cancer, in particular, targeted therapy, are now often used. Additionally, immunotherapy is carried out. Effective treatment is possible only with an integrated approach.
The prognosis directly depends on the stage of the pathology. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate is greater than 90%. With stage 3-4 cancer, this indicator decreases to 30-40%.