- A friable, granular squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx that leads to hoarseness, hemoptysis, and cough
- System(s) affected: pulmonary; ear, nose, throat (ENT)
- Synonym(s): cancer of the larynx; throat cancer; cancer of the voice box
- 150,000 new cases diagnosed per year worldwide (13,430 new cases per year in the United States, 2016) (1)
- Second most common cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract (2)
- 85–90% of laryngeal cancers are squamous cell (2).
- Laryngeal cancer represents 0.8% of all new cases of cancer in the United States (1).
- ~60% of the cases present in advanced stages (III, IV) (2)
- 5-year survival rate 63% (1,2)
- Predominant age
- Median age at diagnosis is 65 years; most frequently diagnosed between 50 and 70 years of age (3)
- <1% of laryngeal cancers arise in patients <30 years.
- Predominant sex: male > female (5:1); blacks > whites (1); blacks diagnosed younger and higher death rate (2)
Etiology and Pathophysiology
- Smoking tobacco (dose dependent) is the most significant risk factor (1) linear association:
- 30 times greater risk for heavy smoker
- Heavy alcohol use, 8 or more drinks per day (1,3)
- Smoking plus moderate alcohol use—synergistic (1)
- Smoking cannabis (3)
- Possibly chronic gastroesophageal and laryngopharyngeal reflux (1,2)
- Occupational hazards (asbestos, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, textile dust, exposure to radiation) (1,2)
- Dietary—too much red meats have been suggested (1). Decrease risk with increase fruits and vegetables.
- Viruses, for example, HPV/p16, prevalence ranges from 20% to 30% in laryngeal cancer with prognostic value unknown (1)
Unknown—possible genetic inheritance
See “Etiology and Pathophysiology.”
- Avoid or cease smoking and/or alcohol abuse (85% attributed to smoking and alcohol abuse) (1).
- Wear proper respiratory masks/respirators if chronic exposure to certain chemicals, gases, and wood dust.
- Indirect laryngoscopy for at-risk patients with persistent hoarseness lasting >2 to 3 weeks
- HPV vaccination: Cost-effectiveness specifically for laryngeal cancer is unclear.
Commonly Associated Conditions
Up to 10% of patients may have a synchronous squamous cell carcinoma in the lower or upper aerodigestive tract, most notably in the esophagus or lungs.
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Domino, Frank J., et al., editors. "Laryngeal Cancer." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2020. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688620/all/Laryngeal_Cancer.
Laryngeal Cancer. In: Domino FJF, Baldor RAR, Golding JJ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2020. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688620/all/Laryngeal_Cancer. Accessed June 2, 2023.
Laryngeal Cancer. (2020). In Domino, F. J., Baldor, R. A., Golding, J., & Stephens, M. B. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult (27th ed.). Wolters Kluwer. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688620/all/Laryngeal_Cancer
Laryngeal Cancer [Internet]. In: Domino FJF, Baldor RAR, Golding JJ, Stephens MBM, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2020. [cited 2023 June 02]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688620/all/Laryngeal_Cancer.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Laryngeal Cancer ID - 1688620 ED - Domino,Frank J, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Stephens,Mark B, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688620/all/Laryngeal_Cancer PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -