What is a Laryngeal Cancer?

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Laryngeal cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when malignant tumor cells are located in the larynx. The most important risk factors for developing this disease are tobacco and alcohol. Ninety percent of patients with this cancer are regular smokers and 85% of them are drinkers.

Laryngeal cancer is characterised by the presence of malignant tumour cells in the larynx. This is an organ found in the front part of the neck, between the trachea and the pharynx. The larynx consists of cartilage and muscle, and it also contains the vocal cords. The main functions of the larynx are breathing, phonation and swallowing.

The larynx is divided into three areas or segments:

  • the supraglottis, above the vocal cords.
  • the glottis, vocal cord area.
  • the subglottis, below the vocal cords.

Laryngeal cancer accounts for 50% of head and neck tumours. Its global incidence varies between 2.5 to 17.1 cases per 100,000 people per year in men, and 0.1 to 1.3 cases per 100,000 people per year in women.

In Spain, the incidence is 12 new cases per 100,000 people per year in men, and 0.2 cases per 100,000 people year in women, one of the highest rates in the world.

Laryngeal cancer develops around the age of 55-65 years, with a range of 40-80 years.

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