Larynx cancer - Description

What is larynx cancer?

Larynx cancer (larynx carcinoma) is a malign formation on the larynx.  It is one of the most common tumor diseases of the neck in Germany. Men are affected more frequently by this disease. Symptoms and treatments vary depending on the type and position of the tumor.  

The larynx separates the trachea and esophagus from each other and is responsible for the formation of the voice. Doctors call the Adam’s apple the larynx and Adam’s apple cancer, larynx carcinoma or malign larynx tumor. Depending on which parts of the Adam’s apple are affected by cancer, one can differentiate many types of tumor forms:

  • Supraglottic carcinoma: above the vocal folds level; over 30 percent of all cases of larynx cancer.
  • Glottic carcinoma: at the vocal folds level (vocal cord carcinoma); over 65 percent of all cases of larynx cancer.
  • Subglottic carcinoma: below the vocal folds level; less than 1 percent of all cases of larynx cancer.

The tumor penetrates the surrounding healthy tissue (infiltration) and destroys it. Only in advanced stages does the larynx cancer metastasize.  This disease mostly affects men older than 50. Since more and more women smoke and the consumption of tobacco is risk factor number one, women are getting ill more often. In Germany about 3,500 men and 500 women get this disease every year. Although larynx cancer is one of the most frequent throat tumors, cases of death are very rare.  In men, larynx cancer is the cause of 1.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths; in women it is only 1 percent.