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Laryngeal Cancer

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The diagnosis of cancer in a patient is often accompanied by disbelief and feelings of helplessness. The feeling of helplessness may be partly due to a lack of knowledge and awareness of the many treatment options available.
This series of brochures will provide you information on common head and neck cancers, focusing on the following:

  • Common causes and symptoms
  • Investigations required
  • Treatment options available

For more information about the condition and treatment options, please consult a head and neck cancer specialist.

Cancer Patient Services

The Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose, Throat) in Tan Tock Seng Hospital offers the following services in relation to head and neck cancers:

  1. Diagnosis of the cancer
  2. Appropriate staging of the cancer
  3. Treatment – every cancer patient is discussed with a multi-disciplinary team to identify the most ideal evidence-based treatment
  4. Long-term follow up and monitoring to ensure the cancer does not return

Laryngeal Cancer

Larynx (or voice box) cancer is much more common in men than in women in Singapore. However, the overall incidence is decreasing.

Main Causes

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Common Symptoms

  • Hoarse voice
  • Blood in phlegm
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Noisy breathing (stridor)
  • Lymph glands in the neck
  • Weight loss

Examination and Tests

Your doctor will perform a nasoendoscopy procedure, where a fibreoptic camera is passed through your nose to obtain a view of the voice box.

Two types of investigations are required:

  1. Biopsy of the voice box to determine the presence of cancer. This is done under general anaesthesia.
  2. Scans to determine the spread of the disease. Commonly-performed scans include:
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of the larynx and neck
    • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan of the whole body
Laryngeal Cancer 1.pngLaryngeal Cancer 2.png
A Normal LarynxTumour in Larynx



The treatment of larynx cancer depends on the stage of disease:

  • Early stage: Either surgery OR radiotherapy
  • Advanced stage: Surgery and radiotherapy OR chemoradiotherapy

Chemoradiotherapy has the advantage of retaining the larynx but only some patients are suitable for this treatment. Your doctor will explain which treatment is most suitable for you.
You will also need to undergo speech rehabilitation as surgical removal of the larynx will affect your speech.

Cancer Care Management

We work closely with other medical specialists and allied health professionals to ensure the most ideal

oral tongue cancer icons.png

Our aim is the same as yours – to fight off the cancer and return you to an ideal quality of life.

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