Symptoms and Signs of Laryngeal Cancer

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 4/15/2022

Doctor's Notes on Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the larynx, usually due to abnormal squamous cells that line the larynx. Signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer are

  • a sore throat that does not go away,
  • ear pain,
  • a change or hoarseness in your voice,
  • a lump in the neck or throat,
  • and/or difficulty or pain when swallowing.

Laryngeal cancers can spread to other organs in the body such as the thyroid, lymph nodes, lungs, liver, and bone.

What causes the squamous cells to become malignant is unclear but the use of tobacco and alcohol abuse increases the risk of developing laryngeal cancer.

What Are the Treatments for Laryngeal Cancer?

The treatment options for laryngeal cancer may include one or more of the following, alone or in combination:

  • Surgery (with or without radiation therapy)
    • Endoscopic resection
    • Partial laryngectomy
    • Total laryngectomy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy with pembrolizumab or nivolumab
  • Targeted therapy (for example, cetuximab)

Clinical trials may be suggested by your doctors to join; these trials are ways to determine the effects of new treatments that may help address your laryngeal cancer.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.