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 containsthe 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.
Supraglottic canceris almost 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).