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A lot of people have heard of laryngectomy but not all of them are aware of what it actually means. It is important that people know it is a medical procedure which is usually performed in cases when people are suffering from laryngeal cancer.

Definition of Laryngectomy

Laryngectomy is a procedure done by doctors. It involves the removal of larynx and the separation of the airway from the mouth, nose and esophagus. A person who had this procedure done will no longer breathe the way other people do but through an opening in the neck. Not that many people know that that opening in the neck is called a stoma. It is important to know that this medical procedure is not that common and that it is considered to be the last option for people who suffer from laryngeal cancer. Before this procedure is done, people with laryngeal cancer will undergo radiation therapy and chemotherapy first. Apart from these two most commonly used therapies, people also undergo laser procedures before undergoing laryngectomy. Doctor will try to preserve the larynx with these treatments and laryngectomy is performed when chemotherapy, radiation therapy and laser procedures fail to preserve the larynx. Apart from being performed in cases of larynx cancer, people should know that laryngectomy is also performed on people who suffer from other types of head and neck cancer.

When people undergo laryngectomy, there is a need for them to discuss with their doctor about the possible voice replacements. In most cases of voice replacements, voice functions are replaced by voice prosthesis. This voice prosthesis will be placed in the tracheo esophageal puncture which is created by a surgeon. People should know that this voice prosthesis functions by vibrating the esophageal tissue in lieu of the larynx.

Apart from the voice prosthesis, people should know that there are two more methods which are available in situations when voice replacement is required. The use of an electrolarynx is considered to be one of the methods. Electrolarynx is a device which is located against the neck. This device works by creating vibration that the person who uses it articulates. However, the bad thing about this method is that the voice a person creates will be mechanical and robotic.

Another possible method is known as esophageal speech. The way this method functions is by pushing the air into the esophagus and then back up when speech sounds are created. However, there are not that many people who prefer to use this method as a lot of time is required for a person to learn it and it is considered to be quite difficult.


According to the experts, there are some 60,000 people in the United States who had the procedure of laryngectomy performed on them. The number of laryngeal cancer cases which are being treated every year is 10,000. However, most of these people are being treated with other methods like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and leaser procedures and only 3,000 of these cases are being treated with laryngectomy. This type of cancer is not that common and this is one of the main reasons why people who develop it should be treated in a major federally designed cancer center. In a majority of cases of laryngeal cancer people should know that they are glottis. This means that the cancer starts in the vocal cords of the larynx. The good thing about glottic cancer is that the percentage of it being cured with radiotherapy is quite high and it is 90%. One of the main reasons why that is so, is because people develop it early in their life and they create a hoarse voice which is one of the most obvious signs. Relevant statistical data

People should know that out of all the cancer types which can most commonly develop in the upper aerodigestive tract, laryngeal cancer is in the second place. According to the data, only 5% of all cancers that develop in the larynx are not of the squamous cell carcinoma variety. There are a lot of deaths which are caused by all types of cancer every year and people should know that out of all the death cases, the ones that of laryngeal cancer are the cause in only 1%. People who suffer from this type of cancer need to know that the five year survival rate is not that low and it is 68%. Older people are a lot more prone to developing this type of cancer. It is usually people who are older than 50 years of age.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of laryngeal cancer. A person who smokes half a pack every day increases the risk by 4 times and a person who smokes 2 packs every day increases the risk by ten times.

However, the good thing is that T1 tumors have a 90% cure rate and T2 tumors have an 80% cure rate. This does not mean that people should not be careful about developing this type of cancer. It is important that the cancer is spotted in its early stages.

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