Carcinoma of the larynx (the voice box) is a squamous cell carcinoma. It usually affects during 50 to 70 years of age. In India, the incidence of the laryngeal carcinoma is sevenfold higher in men as compared to women. Carcinoma of the larynx can arise from three major sites, i.e. the glottis, the supraglottis and the subglottis. Carcinoma of the glottis, arising from the true vocal cords, is the most common type of the laryngeal carcinoma. Carcinoma of the supraglottis arises from the area between the epiglottis and the vocal cords, whereas carcinoma of the subglottis originates in the area below the vocal cords. Risk factors of the laryngeal carcinoma include chronic smoking and chronic alcoholism.
Carcinoma of the larynx usually presents with a lump in the throat, hoarseness of the voice, haemoptysis and weight loss. There may be referred pain in the ear due to local invasion. Stridor may occur in the supraglottic carcinoma. In advanced stages of the laryngeal carcinoma, there may be aphasia (due to immobility of the vocal cords), dysphagia (due to pharyngeal involvement) and dyspnoea (due to enlarged paratracheal lymph nodes).
Staging of laryngeal carcinoma is done as follows:
Procedures used in the diagnosis and evaluation of the laryngeal carcinoma include X-rays, CT scan, laryngoscopy and biopsy.
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