Laryngeal Cancer Treatment Options
People with early laryngeal cancer may be treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy. If the cancer is more advanced, patients may have a combination of treatments. Even if surgery removes all of the tumor, there is a chance that some cancer cells remain and chemotherapy may be recommended.
Your oncologist will recommend a treatment plan based on your stage, your general health, and whether the cancer has recurred. The recommended treatments may also change based on where the cancer is located to give the patient the best chance at keeping their ability to talk, eat, and breathe as normal as possible.
- Surgery - removal of the tumor in the throat and/or lymph nodes or other tissue in the neck. The American Cancer Society lists several types of surgery options for treating laryngeal cancer.
- Chemotherapy - the use of anticancer drugs to shrink or kill cancerous cells and/or to reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The specific combination of medicines will depend on the location and stage of the disease as well as what works well for the patient.
- Radiation therapy - the use of high-energy radiation to kill or shrink cancer cells. Hyperfractionated radiation therapy may be used to treat laryngeal cancer. The radiation therapy is delivered in smaller doses, at a more frequent pace. Instead of one time per day, hyperfractionated radiation therapy may deliver the radiation in two doses per day.
- Targeted therapy - a special type of chemotherapy is under clinical research for laryngeal cancer that takes advantage of differences between normal cells and cancer cells. The targeted therapy only attacks the cancerous cells, while leaving the healthy ones alone.
Other new types of laryngeal cancer treatment are also being tested in clinical trials. Patients who may want to participate in a clinical trial should talk with their Virginia Oncology Associates cancer team to see if one is available, or view our current clinical trials available online.