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What is laryngeal cancer?

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Quick Answer

Laryngeal cancer occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the larynx, a part of the throat between the base of the tongue and the trachea that includes the vocal cords, according to the National Cancer Institute. Laryngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.

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Individuals who use tobacco or drink a lot of alcohol are at greater risk for developing laryngeal cancer, notes NCI. These habits also decrease the effectiveness of treatment for the cancer. Symptoms of laryngeal cancer include sore throat, ear pain, trouble or pain when swallowing, a lump in the neck or throat, and hoarseness in the voice.

The chance of recovery for an individual diagnosed with laryngeal cancer depends on a number of factors, including the stage of the disease, the location and size of the tumor, the grade of the tumor, and the patient's age, gender and general health. These factors also help determine the best treatment option. The three types of standard treatment are radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy, notes NCI. There are also new types of treatment being tested in clinical trials, as of 2015. Follow-up treatment to lower the risk of the cancer returning is called adjuvant therapy.

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