Larynx and Hypopharynx Cancers

Cancers that start in the larynx, that is, in the larynx, are called laryngeal cancers. Cancers that start in the hypopharynx, that is, in the pharynx, are called hypopharyngeal cancers. Both types of cancer are very close to each other because of the closeness of the structures.

Squamous cell carcinoma Almost all cancers found in the larynx or hypopharynx develop from thin, flat cells called squamous cells found in the surface layer called the epithelium. Cancer that starts in this layer of cells is called squamous cell carcinoma or squamous cell cancer.

Most squamous cell cancers of the larynx and hypopharynx begin with a precancerous lesion called dysplasia. When viewed under a microscope, these cells look abnormal but do not look like cancer cells. Most of the time, dysplasia does not turn into cancer. It usually regresses without any treatment, especially if the underlying cause (such as smoking) is stopped.

Most of the larynx and hypopharyngeal cancers are detected at more advanced stages, as they do not cause complaints unless they are in the pre-cancerous vocal cords. Sometimes dysplasia progresses to carcinoma. CIS, or carcinoma in-situ, is the earliest form of cancer. Most of these early cancers are treatable, but if CIS is left untreated, it can develop into an invasive squamous cell cancer that will destroy nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

Other cancers; Other rare types of cancer may also start in the larynx or hypopharynx.

Minor salivary gland cancers: Some parts of the larynx and hypopharynx have small glands called minor salivary glands under their covering layer. These glands make mucus and saliva to lubricate and moisturize the area. Cancer rarely develops in the cells of these glands.

Sarcomas: The shape of the larynx and hypopharynx is based on the connective tissue and cartilage framework. Cancers such as chondrosarcomas or synovial sarcomas can develop from the connective tissues of the larynx or hypopharynx, but this is extremely rare.

Melanomas: These cancers usually start in the skin, but rarely on the inner (mucosal) surfaces of the body, such as in the larynx or hypopharynx.

Risk factors

-Tobacco and alcohol use

-Not enought feeding

-Human papillomavirus infection

-Genetic syndromes (such as Fanconi anemia)

-workplace risks




-gastroesophageal reflux disease


Hoarseness or voice changes Other symptoms;

-persistent sore throat

-persistent cough

-pain with swallowing

-swallowing problem


-breathing problem

-weight loss

-A lump or mass in the neck (due to the spread of cancer to nearby lymph nodes)

In case of hoarseness lasting more than two weeks without an obvious cause, it is recommended to apply for examination.


Depending on the stage of the cancer and your overall health, different treatment options may be used alone or in combination. The most important factors to consider when creating your treatment plan are the location and stage of the cancer. Your cancer care team will also consider your general health and personal preferences. The main focus of treatments is to try to save your larynx and voice if possible. Most experts do not recommend surgery to completely remove the larynx if there are no other options.




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