Continuous hoarseness as a warning signal: How will you recognize cancer of the larynx and how you vorbeugst

Smoking causes not only lung cancer but also cancer of the larynx. What is the Symptom warning signs, how high the chances of Survival are, and how Doctors today with a personalized therapy may be able to get the larynx.

Who is already come across a human that lives after cancer of the larynx, without a larynx, you can imagine how strong the tracheostomy restricts the quality of life. A Tracheostomy is an artificial Opening of the trachea in the neck in the front, so a permanent tracheotomy.

Because of the larynx is missing, can not be through the mouth and nose breathing. Although cancer of the larynx, with almost 3,000 new patients men and about 500 women per year rather rare. However, the laryngeal carcinoma, the medical term, has some peculiarities, not only as a disease a result of a life without a larynx and Tracheostomy can:

1. It is in the case of cancer of the larynx more than 90 percent are squamous cell carcinomas, i.e. tumours, the mucous membrane of the larynx, skin on.

2. Laryngeal cancer often grows slowly.

3. Metastases he scatters especially in the lymph node system.

4. Up to 20 percent of patients with a second cancer within the first two years can form after the initial disease.

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“The survival rate for throat cancer is now more than 70 percent,” adds Andreas Dietz, Director of the ENT-University clinic of Leipzig and spokesperson of the Interdisciplinary study group of head and neck tumours of the German cancer society (IAG KHT of the DCT).

Causes for laryngeal cancer, it is especially Smoking plus alcohol

The most important risk factor for laryngeal cancer is Smoking, because of its numerous cancer-causing substances. “The longer and the more a man smokes, the higher his risk of developing this form of cancer is,” warns the Professor. The risk of cancer through Smoking potentiates still, if, in addition, a lot of alcohol is consumed.

But how dangerous papilloma virus, i.e. HPV, which often come in the formation of pharyngeal cancer to Bear in this context? “You play in laryngeal cancer a subordinate role,” clarifies Andreas Dietz.

Laryngeal cancer has a Symptom

Depending on the localization in the larynx the cancer can cause slightly different symptoms. Because with over 65 percent of the most common Form of cancer of the larynx affects vocal folds (vocal cords) and the vocal part of the larynx (glottisches carcinoma), is hoarseness is the main Symptom. “In addition, there may be bleeding when coughing a bit,” adds the oncologist. Getty Images/iStockphoto

In addition, laryngeal cancer forms in more than 30 percent of the cases in the area of the supra-glottis so in the Laryngeal inlet above the vocal folds, in only one percent of the SGS, i.e. below the vocal folds.

The individual throat areas and their functions:

1. The entire larynx serves the air passage when you inhale and Exhale.

2. The the larynx flowing through the air and the tension/relaxation of the vocal cords Speak with allow you to and Sing. This voting constituent part of the larynx and Glottis, of the overlying supra-glottis, the SGS is.

As with the glottis cells carcinoma the main Symptom of which is hoarseness, the supraglottic swallow disorders, the rare subglottische with respiratory complaints.

3. The larynx regulates the junction of the trachea and esophagus. The Epiglottis and the tongue to prevent food parts in the air tube and, therefore, may end up in the lungs.

Due to hoarseness to the doctor?

Even if it seems at first glance, some a bit exaggerated: the hoarseness lasts longer than three weeks, you should have a physician clarify, best from a ENT doctor.

“In fact, most patients come relatively early to the doctor,” says Andreas Dietz. Cancer of the larynx belong, therefore, statistically, one of the earliest recognized types of cancer. This is also important because it grows quickly and the chances of cure are better the earlier the cancer is discovered.

Diagnosis of cancer of the larynx – the laryngeal mirror is the first investigation

The doctor will inspect the oral cavity, throat, pharynx and the larynx carefully, a laryngeal mirror to perform. It only takes a few minutes. Suspicious areas can also be Panendoskopie investigate. For this purpose, a short General anesthesia is necessary, the doctor inserts instruments through the mouth, and can take tissue samples.

In addition, it is often carried out a computer tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging, MRI,. The oncologist adds: “Meanwhile, a PET-CT, i.e. positron-Emission-tomography combined with computer tomography, in order to exclude metastases.”

Treatment of laryngeal cancer – a new way to get the larynx

For initial therapy the surgery as well as Chemo – and radiation therapy. During the surgery, the Doctors try to get to the larynx as far as possible. However, often this is not possible. “One third of the patients, it is necessary to remove the larynx completely,” says the Professor.

To be able to have this opportunity to even more patients, Andreas Dietz, together with a Team of scientists whether the choice of the therapy through a Test to predict whether the Tumor will respond to chemotherapy, or whether a radical SURGERY is necessary. Based on the results of this DeLOS-II study in the Annals of Oncology published, the researchers have developed the “DeLOS-II program”.

The patient will receive at the beginning of therapy with a cycle of chemotherapy. “To speak it well, is the Chance that we can get the larynx with chemotherapy and subsequent irradiation, relatively large,” explains the oncologist this new therapy option, which is by the way listed in the current guidelines, which will be published by the end of 2019, already. The DeLOS-II program is a big step on the way to personalized cancer therapy and is likely to allow many patients to survive cancer without a larynx removal (Laryngectomy).

A further, relatively new treatment option is immunotherapy. “However, these Checkpoint inhibitors are currently used only in case of relapse.” said Andreas Dietz. These drugs cause the immune system is targeted against the cancer.

Life without a larynx

However, even if the treatment options are getting better and better – the risk of losing by this form of cancer of the larynx, is still great. A particular problem means kehlkopflos: The Opening, the Stoma must be protected 24 hours a day, air-permeable. It must be cleaned several times carefully. And, above all, The familiar voice is lost, which was an important part of the personality. There are various ways, with a pseudo-whisper, vocal valve to be able to oesophageal voice or electronic speech aid to communicate there.

Throat cancer prevention with two measures

Better however, it is not to fall ill in the first place of cancer of the larynx. The every has to a large extent even in the Hand: do not smoke and do not drink too much alcohol. Thus, the risk for laryngeal cancer decreases massively. For a smoker: stop Smoking. “Who has smoked a long time and older, the risk does not stop with a Smoking completely to Zero”, limit Andreas Dietz. Who retire with 30 or 40 years, after ten to 15 years, statistically, the risk of the disease, the people who had never smoked to be seen again – the same goes for high alcohol consumption.