Laryngeal Cancer Complications
Cancer of the larynx is not free of
complications; complications can be due either to the cancer itself or its treatment. Some laryngeal cancer
Metastasis - the cancer can spread to other parts of your body such
as the cervical lymph nodes to form new cancer. In severe cases, the cancer can spread into the lungs through
the blood stream.
obstruction - the tumor
can block the airways and make your breathing difficult. Besides the cancer, the treatment itself can cause
respiratory problems. If you had a total removal of the larynx, you will need a tracheostomy to maintain
of the throat and neck – certain
surgical intervention in the neck to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue can lead to some distortion of the
throat and neck. The operation can make the movement of your neck difficult. In addition, a tracheostomy may
leave a permanent opening (stoma) in your neck.
Difficulty eating - in most cases, after surgery, you will have difficulty
swallowing foods of a certain consistency. In addition, if you have radiotherapy treatment, you may experience
difficulty swallowing or even chewing.
Loss of voice - the removal of the larynx can affect your vocal chords
and prevent you from speaking normally. Fortunately, there are methods that are used to help patients facing
speech (or voice) – this
alternate method allows you to
vocalize without the oscillation in your vocal cords; it
involves swallowing air and expelling it to produce sounds. Esophageal speech is the basic method to
replace the normal voice; however, you will need a speech therapist at the beginning to help you become
familiar with the technique.
- Tracheoesophageal (TE) voice
prosthesis - this technique involves placing a small valve between the trachea and esophagus. It allows
you to produce TE speech by shunting air from the lungs into the esophagus, which vibrate the esophageal
medical device is usually recommended by a laryngologist or a speech-language pathologist for
voice rehabilitation following a total laryngectomy.
- Electrolarynx - this is an electronic device used to produce
clearer speech by those who have lost their original voicebox, usually due to cancer of the larynx. Held
near the skin of the throat or the corner of the mouth, the device produces a mechanical voice that helps
the wearer communicate in a comfortable and familiar way.