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Exploring Treatment Options for Larynx Cancer


Cancer can affect any part of the body, including the larynx. Detecting larynx cancer early ensures treatment is provided before complications happen.

The American Cancer Society reports that, in 2023, a total of 12,380 cases of larynx cancer were recorded in the U.S. In the same year, the disease killed 3,820 people. If you have this disease, it can change your voice, cause a sore throat, and more. Let’s discuss what options are available and the things that affect your choices.

Factors Influencing Your Larynx Cancer Treatment Options

There isn’t a fixed treatment that works for everyone. The ideal way to address larynx cancer depends on a couple of things – and only by considering all of these factors can a treatment plan be created for you.

You and your doctor need to consider:

  • The specific location of the tumor
  • The stage and severity of the cancer
  • Whether the cancer is localized or metastatic
  • Your age and overall health
  • Any personal preferences you have

Once these things are taken into consideration, the next step is to decide on a treatment plan. This can include one or more of the following:

  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Targeted therapy

No matter what stage of larynx cancer you have, supportive care will also usually form part of your treatment plan. This helps to improve your quality of life as navigate these treatments.

Radiotherapy for Larynx Cancer

Radiotherapy is common for people with larynx cancer. It is usually combined with another treatment, chemotherapy, to help offer a multi-targeted approach to kill cancer cells and stop them from growing.

However, if your larynx cancer is detected at an early stage, treatment might only include radiotherapy without combining it with other options.

Since radiotherapy is a targeted treatment, you’ll need to go for a pre-treatment session. During this session, a mold of your face is taken, and this allows the specialist to create a special mask. You’ll be wearing this mask during the procedure. It helps to ensure your head remains still – which avoids movements that could alter the location where the radioactive beam is targeted.

In most cases, you’ll need to go for radiotherapy on a daily basis. However, specialists will usually give you a break from treatment during the weekends. The specific duration during which the treatment is used depends on a couple of factors, such as how advanced the cancer is and how well it responds to the radioactive beams. You may need to go for these daily sessions over a period of three to seven weeks.

If you undergo surgery for larynx cancer, the specialist overseeing your care may recommend a few sessions of radiotherapy afterward. The goal here is to prevent the cancer from coming back.

Chemotherapy for Larynx Cancer

Chemotherapy is also a common treatment, and it’s often combined with radiotherapy. The idea behind this combination is to make the use of radioactive beams more effective at killing cancer cells. There are also cases where a specialist may recommend taking chemotherapy before you undergo surgery for larynx cancer. This helps to reduce the size of the tumor before it is removed through a surgical procedure.

Chemotherapy uses very specific drugs. These drugs are designed to cause damage to cancer cells by targeting their DNA. When the DNA of these cells gets damaged, they won’t be able to grow and reproduce. This essentially helps to shrink the size of a tumor.

There are different types of chemotherapy drugs for larynx cancer. In most cases, you’ll get an injection with the medication. This injection is made directly into a vein, as it helps to ensure the chemicals in the drug can reach the cancer site faster.

Surgery for Larynx Cancer

There are some cases where your doctor may prefer surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the tissue affected by the cancer through a surgical procedure. It’s more invasive than some of the other treatment options but does offer a good level of success. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe a different treatment before you go for surgery. This can be useful, especially in cases where the tumor is quite large.

When you have to undergo surgery for larynx cancer, different options can be used. The specific type of surgical treatment depends on your condition – how severe and advanced the cancer is.

These may include:

  • Endoscopic resection: A surgical treatment that is appropriate for cases where your larynx cancer is detected at an early stage. This is the least invasive surgical procedure that’s used for larynx cancer. A microscope is used to help the surgeon get a better view of your larynx. They will then use special tools to remove the tumor. This can include surgical tools or a laser. You’ll get general anesthesia before this procedure is performed.
  • Partial laryngectomy: While it’s not a very common procedure for larynx cancer anymore, it’s still used in some cases. In partial laryngectomy, the portion of your larynx affected by the cancer will be removed. The surgeon will leave some vocal cords behind, which helps to ensure you can still talk afterward. A temporary tracheostomy will likely be done, which involves creating a hole in the neck, which allows you to breathe through a special tube. The surgeon will remove the tube once your larynx healed properly.
  • Total laryngectomy: In cases of advanced larynx cancer, your doctor may recommend a total laryngectomy. This procedure removes your entire larynx. Sometimes, the surgeon also needs to remove nearby lymph nodes – this is the case if the cancer has started to spread. Your vocal cords will be removed, too.

Targeted Therapy for Larynx Cancer

There is a targeted treatment option for larynx cancer known as cetuximab. The drug specifically focuses on disrupting the cancer cells in your larynx, which stops their growth. It’s also an effective treatment to prevent these cells from reproducing any further.

It’s common to see the use of cetuximab in cases where you can’t opt for chemotherapy. It is sometimes used instead of chemotherapy as a combination treatment alongside radiotherapy.

There are several cases where chemotherapy is not the right answer, such as in cases where you have an infection that you’re struggling to recover from. In this case, chemotherapy might cause the infection to become worse, as the drug is known to affect your immune system. Targeted therapy using cetuximab offers a good alternative in these situations.

This drug will be given to you through intravenous administration, usually through a drip that introduces the chemical to your body gradually. Your doctor will need to carefully assess the cancer to determine the ideal strength of cetuximab to target the cancer, while also keeping the risk of side effects to a minimum.

Supportive Care for Larynx Cancer

Apart from treating the larynx cancer and attempting to get rid of the tumor, there are also supportive treatments that are important. These treatments focus on easing the symptoms that larynx cancer causes, such as sore throat, coughing, and pain.

Supportive care usually involves giving the patient access to pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs. Some other medications or therapies can be provided, depending on the symptoms. When your treatment team develops a supportive care program, they will likely also focus on easing any side effects you experience from the cancer treatments.

Larynx Cancer Treatment at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai

King’s College Hospital London in Dubai gives patients access to world-class support and treatment options for Larynx Cancer. Our treatment team has years of experience and specializes in different fields, ensuring you get a complete treatment plan that focuses on not only on destroying cancerous cells, but also on making you feel as comfortable as possible during this journey. We prioritize individualized care to maximize the chances of survival and always go the extra mile to make you feel comfortable.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with larynx cancer and you’re looking for the best treatment options, make an appointment with King’s College Hospital London in Dubai. We can work together to determine the best course of action to take going forward.