Symptoms and Diagnostic and Staging Tests for Laryngeal Cancer
Laryngeal cancer may cause any of the following signs and symptoms. Check with your doctor if any of the following problems occur:
- Hoarseness or a change in the voice.
- Trouble or pain when swallowing.
- A lump in the neck or throat.
- A sore throat or cough that does not go away.
Other conditions that are not laryngeal cancer may cause these same symptoms.
Tests that examine the throat and larynx are used to diagnose and stage laryngeal cancer. They may include:
- Physical exam and history.
- MRI of the head and neck.
- CT scan.
- Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy.
See the General Information section for a description of these tests and procedures.
Other tests used to diagnose laryngeal cancer include the following:
- Laryngoscopy: A procedure in which the doctor examines the larynx (voice box) with a mirror or with a laryngoscope (a thin, lighted tube).
Barium swallow: A series of x-rays of the esophagus and stomach. The patient drinks a liquid that contains barium (a silver-white metalliccompound). The liquid coats the esophagus and stomach, and x-rays are taken. This procedure is also called an upper GI series.
Treatment of Laryngeal Cancer
Treatment of laryngeal cancer in children may include the following:
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy after a biopsy, for rhabdomyosarcomas.
- Laser surgery and radiation therapy for squamous cell cancer. Laser surgery uses a laser beam (a narrow beam of intense light) to turn the cancer cells into a gas that evaporates (dissolves into the air).
See the following PDQ summaries for more information:
- Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma Treatment
- Laryngeal Cancer Treatment
Papillomatosis of the larynx is a condition that causes papillomas (benign tumors that look like warts) to form in the tissue that lines the larynx. Papillomatosis may be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Papillomas in the larynx may block the airway and cause trouble breathing. These growths often recur (come back) after treatment and may become cancer of the larynx.
Treatment of Papillomatosis
Treatment of papillomatosis in children may include the following:
- Lasersurgery for papillomatosis and other benign tumors.
- Biologic therapy for papillomas that keep come back after being removed by surgery four times in one year.
Midline Tract Cancer with NUT Gene Changes
Midline tract cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the respiratory tract and sometimes other places along the middle of the body. The respiratory tract is made up of the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Cancer may also form in other places along the middle of the body, such as the thymus, the area between the lungs, the pancreas, liver, and bladder.
Midline tract cancer may be caused by a change in a chromosome. Every cell in the body contains DNA (genetic material stored inside chromosomes) that controls how the cell looks and acts. Midline tract cancer may form when part of the DNA from chromosome 15 (called the NUTgene) moves to another chromosome, or when chromosome 15 is broken.
Midline tract cancer with NUT gene changes usually cannot be cured.
There is no standard treatment for midline tract cancer with NUT gene changes. Taking part in a clinical trial should be considered.