What is Laryngeal Cancer?

Laryngeal cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that affects the tissues of the voicebox. The majority of laryngeal cancers originate in the squamous cells – flat, thin cells in the epithelium that forms the innermost lining of the larynx.

Most laryngeal cancers are glottic and first involve the vocal cords. Cancers that develop above the glottis are termed supraglottic and are less common, while subglottic forms or those originating beneath the glottis are the least common.


The symptoms of laryngeal cancer include:

  • Hoarseness of voice. This is often the first symptom.
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • Persistent cough
  • A lump or swelling in the neck


The exact cause of laryngeal cancer is not yet clear, although several risk factors have been associated with development of the condition and these include:

  • Smoking. This is one of the main risk factors for laryngeal cancer
  • Long-term heavy alcohol consumption. This is another major risk factor
  • A family history of head or neck cancer
  • Exposure to toxic substances such as coal dust or diesel fumes

Diagnosis and treatment

Laryngeal cancer is around four times more common in men than in women. The condition is rare in people under 40 years of age. Diagnosis is based on a detailed medical history, clinical examination, imaging studies and tissue biopsy.

The main treatment approaches to laryngeal cancer are radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. In many early-stage cases, radiotherapy followed by surgery is sufficient to remove the cancerous cells from the larynx and cure the illness. In more advanced cases, however, all three of radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy may be required. 

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 10). What is Laryngeal Cancer?. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 19, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Laryngeal-Cancer.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Laryngeal Cancer?". News-Medical. 19 June 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Laryngeal-Cancer.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Laryngeal Cancer?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Laryngeal-Cancer.aspx. (accessed June 19, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. What is Laryngeal Cancer?. News-Medical, viewed 19 June 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Laryngeal-Cancer.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.