From time to time, I like to use my blog to spread awareness of health issues and charities. In fact, I started it to share my story of Autumn’s ovarian cyst at 2 weeks old and my subsequent anxiety. I felt it was important to help others in a similar situation to feel they weren’t alone. This time, I’m spreading awareness of larynx cancer.
What is larynx cancer?
Laryngeal cancer, perhaps better known as larynx cancer, is a type of cancer than affects the larynx (voice box). It is quite rare, affecting 2,000+ people in the UK each year.
Who is most likely to get laryngeal cancer?
Men are more likely to get larynx cancer than women. If you’re over 60, you’re also at a higher risk.
- Hoarseness/a change in your voice
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing
- A lump or swelling in your neck
- A long-lasting cough
- A persistent sore throat or ear ache
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bad breath
- Difficulty breathing
It’s important to see your GP if you experience hoarseness or a cough for more than 3 weeks, although it is unlikely it is cancer it’s best to check. Likewise, if you are experiencing the other symptoms, it is a good idea to seek medical advice.
Things that can increase your risk of getting larynx cancer are as follows:
- Regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol
- Having an unhealthy diet
- Having a family history of head and neck cancer
- Exposure to some chemicals and substances, including asbestos and coal dust
- HPV infection
- Low immunity
Treatment of larynx cancer
There a variety of ways in which laryngeal cancer is treated . The main methods are radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. Sometimes chemoradiotherapy (a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy) or targeted cancer drugs are used.
If the cancer is advanced, a combination of these treatments may be used. If the larynx needs to be removed, breathing and speaking the usual way is no longer possible. However, a stoma (hole in the neck) can be used for breathing and a throat implant or electrical device can be used to enable speaking again.
Treatment can be undertaken through the NHS or specialists such as The Loc, a specialist treatment centre at the forefront of cancer care.
Outlook of laryngeal cancer
The outlook for larynx cancer depends on when it’s diagnosed. However, it is usually diagnosed early, meaning its outlook is often better than other cancers.
According to the NHS, “Overall, about 70 out of every 100 people will live for at least 5 years after diagnosis and about 60 out of every 100 people will live for at least 10 years”.