Your voice box, or larynx, is a located inside your throat and contains the:
- Glottis (the middle of the larynx, called the vocal cords)
- Subglottis (the bottom part of the larynx just below the vocal cords)
- Supraglottis (the top part of the larynx just above the vocal cords)
The voice box aids in speech, breathing and swallowing. Voice box cancer, also called laryngeal cancer, is one of the most common types of throat cancer. This cancer is caused by abnormal cell growth or a tumor that can affect how the voice box functions. Laryngeal cancer can spread to other areas of the body.
Voice Box Cancer at UK Markey Cancer Center
Voice box cancer requires specialized and complex treatment from experts trained in the latest techniques, including precision laser surgery. At Markey, our head and neck cancer specialists will work with you to find the right treatment, including therapies that preserve your voice box and ability to speak.
You will have an entire team of head and neck cancer experts who will work together to develop the best treatment plan for you. Our team includes:
- Radiation oncologists and medical oncologists who focus solely on head and neck cancer
- Specialized pathologists who only review head and neck cancer tests
Markey’s voice box cancer team provides expert consultation and ongoing care for patients with cancers of the voice box.
Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, the voice box cancer team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.
Markey has provided state-of-the-art cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.
Voice box cancer can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- A lump in the neck
- Coughing or spitting up blood
- Difficulty breathing
- Ear pain
- Hoarseness or voice changes
- Pain when swallowing
- Persistent sore throat or cough
- Unexplained weight loss
Relative five-year survival rates for voice box cancer depend on the location of the cancer and how far it has spread. According to the American Cancer Society, glottis cancer has an overall five-year survival rate of 76 percent, supraglottis has a 46 percent overall five-year survival rate and subglottis cancer has a 52 percent overall five-year survival rate.
You can lower your risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:
- Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
- Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
- Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal (mouth or throat) cancer.
- Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history. Currently, there is no screening test for laryngeal cancer, but several other screening tests for other cancers could save your life.
- Get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine if you are eligible. HPV infection is sexually transmitted and has been associated with development of certain cancers of the mouth, throat, genitals, cervix and anus. The HPV vaccine is recommended for people ages 11-26, preferably before becoming sexually active, but may be appropriate for some individuals up to age 45.
- Advanced age
- African American or Caucasian race
- Alcohol use exceeding one drink per day*
- Betel quid chewing (common in South Asia and Southeast Asia)
- Genetic syndromes including Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenita
- Infection with HPV, or human papillomavirus
- Male gender
- Occupational exposures to certain dusts, fumes or chemicals such as in the following industries, especially in the metal working, petroleum, construction and textile industries
- Personal history of previous cancers of the head and neck
- Poor nutrition
- Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke*
*People who use both alcohol and tobacco have a much higher risk of voice box cancer compared to those who only have one of these habits; the risk is multiplied rather than added together.
- For your first visit, you will be directed to the head, neck and respiratory clinic in the Ben F. Roach Cancer Care Facility.
- You can register at the front desk or registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
- Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
- Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
- To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.
Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective. At Markey, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.
Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating voice box or laryngeal cancer below.