Treating Laryngeal Cancers
The larynx (or voice box) is located just below the throat, contains the vocal cords and is necessary for voice production, breathing and swallowing. Tobacco use, secondhand smoke and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of laryngeal cancers. Symptoms of laryngeal cancer can include a sore throat that does not go away, trouble or pain when swallowing, a lump in the neck or throat, hoarseness or changes to the voice, persistent cough and ear pain.
Your doctor may use a laryngoscope to examine your larynx and the surrounding area for growths, masses or changes in tissue color. Suspicious areas can be biopsied to determine if these lesions are cancerous.
Minimally Invasive Laser Surgery
Many patients are candidates for minimally invasive laser treatments that can be completed through the mouth, without any incisions. Surgeons at Palmdale Regional Medical Center are unique in using laser surgery to treat cancers of both the vocal cords and the upper portion of the larynx.
In this type of surgery, the doctor places a thin, lighted tube called a laryngoscope inside the patient’s mouth to visualize the throat and the voice box. The voice box is then viewed under high magnification with a laser-equipped microscope. Using microscopic laser cuts, the tumor is removed with high precision. In most cases, the patient won’t need a temporary tracheotomy.
Surgeons at Palmdale Regional also can use laser surgery to target other cancers in the back of the throat and tongue, as well as other areas of the throat. This approach allows maximal functional and aesthetic preservation and a relatively fast recovery.