Growth in Larynx and Trachea

Growth in the larynx is normally found in the people who have crossed the age of 60.  Hoarse voice is the common symptom of growth in larynx and trachea. There are better chances of cure if the growth is  diagnosed in the early days of its development.

Larynx is situated in the top part of the trachea.  Larynx is also known as voice box because it contains the vocal cords which are the sound producing organ of the human body.  The air we breathe in passes down the larynx to reach the lungs. When we swallow the epiglottis closes the entrance to the larynx and ensures that the food we eat go to the esophagus directly without getting into the lungs. Some risk factors that cause the development of cancerous cells in throat and trachea are detailed below.

Causes

1)      Ageing: It has been found that age is an important factor in the formation of cancerous growths in larynx and trachea as most cases are reported to have occurred in persons above 60 years of age.

2)      Smoking and alcoholism: Excessive smoking and alcoholism have been found to be  the root cause in many cases of cancerous growths found in the larynx and trachea.

3)      Poor diet and exposure to fumes and chemicals: Diet which lack certain vitamins and minerals and excessive exposure to fumes and heavily polluted air etc have also been found to be very potential in creating growth in the larynx and the trachea.

Symptoms

1)      Hoarse voice: Most common and important symptom of growth in larynx is hoarse voice. If hoarse voice continuous after 2-4 weeks then it can be due to the formation of a growth over the larynx.

2)      Lump in the throat: Lump in the throat with pain during swallowing and difficulty in breathing is another symptom that is very commonly found in people with growth in the larynx and trachea.

3)      Swelling in the neck: If the cancer has already spread to local lymph nodes then swelling in the neck is also a symptom.

Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects larynx cancer on preliminary examination he may refer you to an ENT surgeon for detailed check up. ENT surgeon will examine your throat by inserting a small mirror with a light source. After this he may make use of a nasoendoscope which will be inserted through your nose and passed to your throat. With the help of this instrument he will be able to see the larynx and the nearby organs.  If the doctor suspects any possibility of a growth in the larynx he may also take samples for biopsy purpose.  In addition to the above tests you specialist doctor may ask you to take CT scans and MRI scans to clearly distinguish and establish the extent ant the type of the growth that is found on the larynx or trachea.

Treatment

In many cases the aim of treatment is to cure cancer. If detected in the early stages the cancer is completely curable.  In some cases the intention of the treatment will be to control the cancer and stop spreading to other parts of the body.
And in still other cases the intention of the treatment will be to reduce the symptoms of cancer. If the cancer is in an advanced stage, the purpose of the treatment will be to reduce the pain using painkiller and to make swallowing less painful and to improve the quality of life.

Radiotherapy: If the cancer is small and has not spread to other areas then radiotherapy will be highly beneficial in killing the cancerous cells and stop it from multiplying and spreading around. In this treatment high energy radio beams are focused to the cancerous area which help the destruction of the cancerous cells. Radiotherapy is done sometimes prior to the surgical removal and sometimes it is done after the surgery. If the radiotherapy is done prior to the surgery, it is intended to shrink the tumor which will help the surgery to be easier and more successful.  If the radiotherapy is done after the surgery then its intention is to remove the balance of tumor, if any, left out after the surgery.

Surgery

Surgical procedure is indented to remove the entire cancerous cells and completely eradicate the disease. The exact location of the cancer and the information like whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes etc play a crucial role in deciding the surgical procedure to be adopted.

1)      Endoscopic resection: This procedure uses an endoscope which is an instrument with a camera and a light source connected to one end of a flexible wire. This camera is inserted through the throat and the videos taken by this camera are enlarged and displayed in the monitor placed before the surgeon. Using miniature instruments and viewing the surgery through the monitor, the surgeon performs the surgery remotely controlling the surgical instruments. This procedure is best suited for tumors which are small in size and confined to a small area.

2)      Partial laryngectomy: Partial laryngectomy is a procedure in which a cut is made in the neck through which the larynx is accessed. A partial stoma (a hole with a tube in the neck) only will be needed if only a part of the larynx is removed. This temporary stoma will be needed till the healing process of the wound is completed.

3)      Total laryngectomy:  This is a procedure in which the entire larynx is removed.  The vocal cords will be removed and normally the patient will not be able to speak again. But a speech therapist will be able to teach the various methods by which he will be able to produce sounds and speak in a different way. You will have a permanent stoma in your neck also. Stoma is an arrangement in which the top portion of the trachea is attached to the neck and form there a long tube is connected which acts as the passage for the air to the lungs and for food and medicine to the esophagus.

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