The larynx, an organ located at the front of the neck, plays an important role in breathing and vocalization as well as preventing food from passing into the trachea. Laryngeal cancer refers to a malignant tumor that occurs when epithelial cells in the larynx go through a degeneration process and become cancer cells due to various causes, and these cells proliferate. Histologically, 95 to 98% of all malignancies originating in the larynx are squamous cell carcinomas, and other sarcomas, adenocarcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors and other types of cancer exist. In addition, laryngeal cancer is known to have the highest incidence among cancers occurring in the face and neck, and it is reported that the incidence rate is highest in those in their 40s to 60s. The main cause of laryngeal cancer is not clearly known. Smoking, which causes changes in the laryngeal mucosal epithelium and even malignant changes, is known to be the risk factor most affecting the development of laryngeal cancer. In addition, habitual excessive drinking and vitamin deficiency, certain types of HPV infection, keratosis mainly occurring in the vocal cords, vitiligo, chronic inflammation, chronic irritation, air pollution, radiation, etc. are known to cause laryngeal cancer by changing the epithelial cells of the laryngeal mucosa into malignant ones. there is. Now, let’s learn about the various symptoms that appear during the occurrence of laryngeal cancer, as well as various information related to treatment and prevention.
The main symptoms of laryngeal cancer
The initial symptom of laryngeal cancer is that the vocal function of the larynx is impaired, which leads to voice changes and hoarseness. These voice changes and hoarseness are characterized by a persistent occurrence over weeks to months for no apparent reason. And as laryngeal cancer progresses further, the tumor forms an inflammation or ulcer, causing pain. This pain usually occurs when swallowing food, and in severe cases, the pain can travel to the ear. Also, as the cancer progresses, you may experience difficulty swallowing food, difficulty breathing, and wheezing wheezing when breathing. These symptoms are exacerbated as the tumor grows larger, secretions accumulate, and the vocal cords become more inflamed or swollen.
And if the symptoms get more serious, the blood vessels of the tumor burst, causing symptoms such as vomiting blood or a hard lump in the neck. In addition, a feeling of a foreign body such as an abnormal lump in the throat, persistent sore throat and coughing symptoms, and weight loss are also symptoms that occur continuously during the progression of laryngeal cancer. It is known that the survival rate of laryngeal cancer is high when it is detected early, about 80%, and the probability of preserving the voice also increases. You may need to speak with vocalizations and artificial larynx, etc. Therefore, if hoarseness, changes in voice, or a feeling that there is a foreign object in the throat persists for several weeks, it is important to visit the hospital for an accurate diagnosis and examination.
Laryngeal cancer treatment and prevention
1. Accurate diagnosis through multiple tests
When diagnosing laryngeal cancer, both the larynx and the neck are examined using a flexible endoscope and a laryngoscope. In particular, for laryngeal cancer, at the initial diagnosis, cervical lymph node metastasis must be checked through cervical examination. In addition, CT and MRI are performed to determine the location of the tumor and whether surgical removal is possible and the stage. Various tests such as scans will be performed.
2. Treatment according to the diagnosis result
Depending on how far the tumor has progressed through the various tests mentioned above, various treatment methods such as endoscopic laser surgery, open surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are taken into consideration. In the case of early laryngeal cancer, endoscopic laser resection using laser can be performed. During surgery, if the area to be resected is large in order to secure the surgical site sufficiently, it may be difficult to breathe and eat normally after surgery. However, if the cancer has advanced and invaded the surrounding tissues including the larynx, various open surgical treatments to remove the larynx, the vocal organ, can be performed. In addition to surgical treatment, radiation therapy, which is preferred as the primary treatment method, and chemotherapy, which plays an important role in the treatment of advanced laryngeal cancer, will be performed in parallel with the various surgical treatments mentioned above.
3. No smoking
When exposed to cigarette smoke over a long period of time, the cells of the laryngeal mucosa undergo a gradual change in shape, making it easier to transform into cancer cells. Due to this mechanism of action, smoking is known to be a risk factor that has the greatest influence on the development of laryngeal cancer. 90-95% of all laryngeal cancer patients are smokers, and it is reported that both the duration of exposure to tobacco and the amount of cigarettes smoked greatly influence the occurrence of laryngeal cancer. It is known that the risk starts to decrease after 6 years of quitting smoking and decreases to the same extent as non-smokers after 15 years, so quitting smoking is an essential management habit to prevent laryngeal cancer.
Excessive and continuous drinking habits are also known to have a significant impact on the occurrence of laryngeal cancer. Alcohol alone affects the occurrence of laryngeal cancer, but when combined with the aforementioned smoking, it has a synergistic effect on the occurrence of cancer, and it is reported that the incidence rate is two to three times higher than those who smoke and drink alone. is becoming Therefore, it is important to reduce the habit of drinking excessively, especially avoiding the habit of drinking and smoking together. In addition, long-term deficiency of essential nutrients such as vitamins also affects the occurrence of laryngeal cancer. I can do it.