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Cancer of the Larynx, Hypopharynx, and Cervical Esophagus Expertise

Laryngeal Cancer

Although it is one of the more common head and neck cancers, laryngeal cancer is still relatively rare. 10,0000 to 12,000 people are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer annually.  In the United States, the majority of laryngeal cancers (more than 65%) occur on the vocal cords (glottis), approximately 30% of laryngeal cancers occur in the part of the larynx immediately above the vocal cords (supraglottis), and the rest occur in the part of the larynx immediately below the vocal cords (subglottis). These types of cancers are more common in patients who smoke or consume alcohol excessively. They may also be caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Treatment options vary depending upon the part of the larynx involved by cancer. Therefore, it is important to be seen by a team of physicians who have expertise in treating this specific disease.

Laryngeal cancers can be treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy depending on the stage and type of cancer. Great advances have been made in radiation therapy, laser surgery, and larynx-conserving surgery so that the majority of laryngeal cancer patients today are able to avoid a total laryngectomy (complete removal of the voice box). In those patients who may require total laryngectomy, voice restoration is now possible through implantation of a prosthesis, which can be performed at the time of laryngectomy, or later as a secondary procedure.

The head and neck cancer specialists at the Stanford Cancer Center have extensive experience treating laryngeal cancer, and will provide you with the multispecialty, quality, compassionate care that you deserve. Your doctors and nurses will take care to minimize and manage treatment side effects like inflammation, trouble swallowing, and hoarseness.

In addition, the multispecialty expertise of the Stanford Voice Center, the Stanford Center for Human Communication, and Stanford speech and swallowing therapists are integrated into treatment to ensure maximum success in preserving your swallowing, speaking, and breathing ability.

Hypopharyngeal Cancer and Cervical Esophageal Cancer

The hypopharynx is that part of the throat located behind the voice box (larynx). There are about 2500 new cases reported annually in the United States, making this one of the rarest cancers in the head and neck. Most are squamous cell carcinomas. Unfortunately, because these tumors tend to spread to the lymph nodes easily, many patients present to their physicians in an advanced stage of disease. Cancers in the hypopharynx can spread and involve the highest portion of the esophagus (the cervical esophagus). The same factors that cause cancer of the larynx—smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection—are thought to play a similar role in the development of cancer of the hypopharynx. Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also be a factor in some patients.

Cancers of the hypopharynx and cervical eosphagus can be treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy depending on the stage and type of cancer. Small tumors may be amenable to surgical removal. Because most tumors present in a more advanced stage and involve the larynx, total laryngectomy with partial or total pharyngectomy and in some cases esophagectomy is sometimes required to treat the disease. For many patients, a combination of radiation therapy with chemotherapy can be used to eradicate the cancer while preserving the pharynx and larynx, and avoiding laryngectomy.

The head and neck cancer specialists at the Stanford Cancer Center have extensive experience treating hypopharyngeal and cervical esophageal cancer, and will provide you with the multispecialty, quality, compassionate care that you deserve. Your doctors and nurses will take care to minimize and manage treatment side effects like inflammation, trouble swallowing, and hoarseness.

In addition, the multispecialty expertise of the Stanford Voice Center, the Stanford Center for Human Communication, and Stanford speech and swallowing therapists are integrated into treatment to ensure maximum success in preserving your swallowing, speaking, and breathing ability.

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