About Larynx Cancer
The throat (pharynx) includes the larynx (voice box) and hypopharynx (gullet) that are used for breathing and swallowing. Just below the larynx is the beginning of the trachea which is a tube-like structure (about four inches in length), also known as the windpipe. Together, these anatomical parts play an essential role in our respiratory system. Laryngeal cancer is one of the most common types of head and neck cancer that can be treated at the Head & Neck Cancer Center of Texas, with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano. Patients at high risk for developing throat cancer are those who use tobacco and/or frequently drink alcohol. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) also plays a causative role. Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that begin in the squamous cells in the larynx and hypopharynx lining and lead down into the trachea. Other throat cancers include minor salivary gland cancers, sarcomas, and melanomas that originate in the larynx or hypopharynx. Board-certified head and neck (otolaryngologist) surgeons Drs. Martin Corsten, Yadro Ducic, and Masoud Saman are skilled in many surgical techniques to remove cancer from the larynx and hypopharynx, including full and partial laryngectomy or a pharyngectomy along with reconstructive options to improve patients' quality of life.
"My experience was much better than I expected, Dr Corsten and the entire staff made me feel very comfortable and I am very appreciative ."- A.T. / Office Visit / Aug 14, 2018
"Sophie was very patient regarding my questions and concerns and was a delight to talk to!"- A.T. / Office Visit / Aug 14, 2018
"Always a good experience from check in to check out."- RJ / Office Visit / Aug 14, 2018
"I absolutely am so thankful for my doctor"- Anonymous / Office Visit / Aug 14, 2018
"very pleased"- Anonymous / Office Visit / Aug 14, 2018
Throat cancer is diagnosed with a physical exam as well as a laryngoscopy, videostroboscopy, biopsy, molecular testing, x-ray, CT or MRI scan, ultrasound, or other methods. Common symptoms of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer include:
- Chronic bad breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Enlarged lymph nodes or a lump in the neck
- Hoarseness unrelated to another illness that lasts longer than two weeks
- Persistent sore throat or feeling like something is in the throat
At the Head & Neck Cancer Center of Texas, surgery can be performed to remove the cancerous areas of the throat (laryngectomy). A total laryngectomy (also called a tracheostomy) removes the entire larynx while leaving a hole in the windpipe (stoma) at the front of the neck so the patient is able to breathe. A partial laryngectomy removes part of the larynx to help preserve the patient's voice, which may include one of the following:
- Supraglottic laryngectomy removes the area above the vocal chords
- Phayngectomy removes part of the hypopharynx, typically performed with a supraglottic laryngectomy
- Cordectomy removes one or multiple vocal folds
- Vertical hemilaryngectomy removes one side of the larynx
- Supracricoid partial laryngectomy removes one or more of the vocal folds and part of the area surrounding the folds
Another surgical option could be a laryngopharyngectomy to remove the entire larynx along with part or all of the pharynx. A neck dissection is performed if the cancer has spread beyond the larynx and hypopharynx to the lymph nodes in the neck. Nonsurgical treatments for throat cancer that may be combined with surgery include chemotherapy, chemoradiotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy (biologic therapy).
What to Expect
Depending on the surgery performed, patients will be given specific recovery instructions to help them heal after their treatment. Patients should schedule follow-up appointments every two months in the first year after surgery to allow the doctor to assess the patient's recovery and look for signs of recurrence. If the vocal folds are removed during surgery, patients may be referred to a speech pathologist to learn new ways to speak or swallow. The skilled doctors of the Head & Neck Cancer Center of Texas may also perform reconstructive plastic surgery to restore some patients' appearance and functions of the throat so they can eat, speak, and breathe normally. This can be discussed in a consultation after the patient's cancer has been treated.
Plan Your Procedure
Clear Your Throat
If you have symptoms of throat cancer or you have been diagnosed with cancer of the larynx or hypopharynx, schedule a consultation with our skilled doctors at the Head & Neck Cancer Center of Texas in the DFW area. With experience in many cancer surgery techniques for laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer, Drs. Corsten, Ducic, and Saman can help develop a unique cancer treatment plan. Also offering reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation after surgery, the Head & Neck Cancer Center of Texas strives to help patients with total cancer treatments and recovery.