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- What is laryngeal cancer?
The larynx (voice box) is located in the neck. It contains the vocal cords, which vibrate and make sound when air is directed against them. Laryngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the larynx. This cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.
Most laryngeal cancers form in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells lining the inside of the larynx. There are three main parts of the larynx:
* Supraglottis: The upper part of the larynx above the vocal cords, including the epiglottis.
* Glottis: The middle part of the larynx where the vocal cords are located.
* Subglottis: The lower part of the larynx between the vocal cords and the trachea (windpipe).
- How is laryngeal cancer related to the environment?
Studies have shown certain industrial exposures, including exposures to asbestos and synthetic fibers, have been associated with cancer of the larynx, but the increase in risk remains controversial. People working in certain jobs in the construction, metal, textile, ceramic, logging, and food industries may have an increased risk of cancer of the larynx.
In addition, there is some evidence suggesting it may be linked with laryngeal cancer
- What are symptoms of laryngeal cancer?
These and other symptoms may be caused by laryngeal cancer but may also be caused by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
* A sore throat or cough that does not go away.
* Trouble or pain when swallowing.
* Ear pain.
* A lump in the neck or throat.
* A change or hoarseness in the voice.
- What are the risk factors of laryngeal cancer?
People with certain risk factors may be more likely than others to develop laryngeal cancer. Smoking tobacco causes most laryngeal cancers. Heavy smokers who have smoked tobacco for a long time are most at risk for laryngeal cancer.
Also, people who are heavy drinkers are more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than people who don’t drink alcohol. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol that a person drinks. The risk of laryngeal cancer increases even more for people who are heavy drinkers and heavy smokers. However, not everyone who drinks or smokes heavily will develop the disease.
In addition, certain industrial exposures, including exposures to asbestos and synthetic fibers, have been associated with cancer of the larynx, but the increase in risk remains controversial. People working in certain jobs in the construction, metal, textile, ceramic, logging, and food industries may have an increased risk of cancer of the larynx.
- How can you prevent laryngeal cancer?
Not all cases of laryngeal cancer can be prevented, but the risk of developing these cancers can be greatly reduced by avoiding known risk factors such as smoking and alcohol use. Avoiding exposure to tobacco (by not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke) lowers the risk of this cancer. Heavy alcohol use greatly increases the cancer-causing effect of tobacco smoke, so it is especially important to avoid the combination of drinking and smoking.
In the workplace, have plenty of ventilation and use industrial respirators when working with cancer-causing chemicals.
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Last Revised: March 26, 2012
Laryngeal Cancer Data:
Access the thyroid cancer data in the WI EPHT online database. Review the Data Details below to learn about interpreting the data.
The WI EPHT online database has data about other specific cancers:
- Brain and Central Nervous System
- Female Breast
- Kidney and Renal
- Leukemia--Acute Lymphocytic
- Leukemia--Acute Myelogenous
- Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Oral Cavity and Pharyngeal
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
What is the data source?
The website provides data from the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System, which is maintained by the Office of Health Informatics, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
How does WI EPHT measure cancer?
The WI EPHT website includes the following measures:
- counts for each cancer type
- age adjusted rate for each cancer type
What are some considerations for interpreting the data?
While significant effort is made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data, there are limitations that are listed below:
- Reporting may be less complete from rural versus urban areas of the state.
- Reporting may be less complete for cases where diagnosis and/or treatment occurs in a different state.
- Reporting completeness is different depending on the type of cancer.
There are many factors that can contribute to a disease and should be considered when interpreting the data. Some of these include:
- Demographics, e.g., race, gender, age
- Socioeconomic Status, e.g., income level, education
- Geographic, e.g., urban vs. rural
- Changes in the medical field, e.g., diagnosis patterns, reporting requirements
- Individual behavior, e.g., diet, smoking