Laryngeal Cancer (Cancer of
The larynx, also
known as voice box or Adam's apple, is a funnel-shaped organ located above the trachea
which connects the nose with bronchus. Its walls are lined with a mucous membrane and consist of nine
cartilages connected by ligaments; one of them is the Adam's apple. It contains the glottis (vocal cords), which vibrate by the passage of the air.
Attached to a V-shaped
cartilage, the vocal cords are tensioned from both sides of the larynx. Sound is created by the passage of air from the lungs which makes them (vocal cords)
vibrate. The sound is high or low depending on
whether the cords are stretched or relax. Sounds entering the mouth are converted
into specific words, based on the shape of the mouth and tongue position.
In addition, the
larynx is also made of a cartilaginous
membrane called epiglottis. The epiglottis, a
muscular valve shaped like a sheet, is located above the larynx. Its main function is to protect the airways by keeping food and saliva from entering the
trachea, a tube that leads to the lungs.
Laryngeal cancer refers to the
occurrence of a malignant tumor in any tissue or organ of the larynx. The primary tumor usually begins in the
form of an abnormal ulceration of a vocal cord which can progress to other vocal cords, and sometimes even
cause their immobilization. Laryngeal cancer is one of a category of
cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract, a group of malignant tumors that are often the results of regular
or persistent use of alcohol and/or tobacco, including second hand smoke. Cancer of the larynx is especially
diagnosed in men over 50 years. Its incidence in young individuals and women is low.
Laryngeal cancer can develop in the
tissue of the glottis (the site of most cases of primary cancer of the larynx), vocal cords or the inner wall
of the larynx (mucosa). But the most dangerous cancer is one
that affects the laryngeal floor located above the vocal cords. This cancer is known as known
as cancer of the
supraglottic or supraglottic cancer. It is
less common but more aggressive.
exclusively squamous cell carcinoma and tends to cause
serious damages, which can be fatal, within a short period of time. It is then necessary to search for an
appropriate treatment quickly to prevent irreparable complications. Unlike cancer of the glottis, this tumor
can spread quickly to nearby lymph nodes, which in turn favor the proliferation of the cancer cells elsewhere
in the body to form other cancers (metastases).