Definition of larynx
The larynx is an organ located at the throat, between the pharynx and the trachea. It consists of a complex assemblage of cartilage, ligaments and muscles. A cartilage that form the body corresponds to the Adam's apple. The larynx houses the vocal cords in a structure called "glottis".
The larynx plays a role in respiratory function in swallowing, and in the production of the sounds origin of speech.
Are there different kinds of laryngeal cancer?
Cancers of the larynx may affect one or more vocal cords, glottis or part of the body located above the vocal cords ("supraglottic the floor"). This last form is the most serious because it can quickly spread to nearby lymph nodes, then to the rest of the body.
Cancer of the larynx in figures
More than 3700 new cases of laryngeal cancer are diagnosed each year. This cancer accounts for 1.2% of all cancers. In 87% of cases, it affects men. By its frequency, it is the 13th most common cancer in men and 22nd women's cancers. It kills just over 1400 people per year.
Risks and origins of cancer of the larynx
Smoking and alcohol consumption are the main causes of laryngeal cancer: more than 80% of laryngeal cancers occur in smokers and people who drink alcohol regularly.
Chronic inhalation of carcinogens such as asbestos, wood particles or certain chemicals also increases the risk of developing cancer of the larynx.
Signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer
The symptoms of laryngeal cancers are not specific. However, some signs must alert, especially when more than 40 years and that one is smoking: a change in voice or hoarseness that persists, especially in a person with risk factors should lead to visit a doctor.
Difficulty swallowing, a sore throat or a lump in the neck apparent are other symptoms that smokers should not overlook when they had more than ten days.
Treatments for cancer of the larynx
Surgery is the main treatment for cancer of the larynx. Interventions consist of removing a portion or all of the organ. In case of partial laryngectomy, the patient can continue to breathe through the natural channels and talk, even if his voice is changed. If total removal of the larynx, it is necessary to perform a tracheostomy (an opening in the trachea) so that the patient can breathe. Moreover, in the absence of vocal cords, the patient can no longer speak "normally". It can, however, learn to speak through an implant and / or rehabilitation.
Chemotherapy involves the administration of antitumor drugs (one drug or several in combination). Drugs diffuse throughout the body, which helps to address not only the primary tumor localized in the larynx, but also cells that have escaped and eventually could lead to the development of metastases.
Radiotherapy uses radiation to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells and induce their destruction. Radiation therapy may be used alone or combined with surgery or chemotherapy.
A new weapon for the treatment of cancer: targeted therapy
Conventional chemotherapies attack not only cancer cells, but also some healthy cells in the body of patients. This is why these treatments are associated with many side effects. Targeted therapies based on the administration of new antitumor agents whose action is much more precise: they target tumor cells specifically. One of these new drugs, cetuximab is indicated for the treatment of cancers of the head and neck. Associated with radiotherapy, it can delay the progression of these cancers.
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