Ear, Nose and Throat - U.S.A.  (ENT USA)
Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer and Smoking
Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer and Smoking   







supragolttic cancer of the larynx, voice box Glottic, True Vocal Cord Cancer Subglottic Cancer 

The top pictures show cancer of the voice box  or larynx.  The picture on the left is a cancer of the epiglottis or top of the voice box (larynx).  The middle picture is a cancer of the true vocal cords The picture on the far right is a cancer of the sub-glottis or below the vocal cords.

Sometimes the cancer requires removing the voice box in a procedure called a laryngectomy. In this procedure the food tube or esophagus is separated from the airway and the wind pipe is brought out through the neck. The patient on the right had a laryngectomy to treat a recurrent cancer after radiation therapy

Mouse over the picture to see his stoma!!!

Play to Hear Patient's Preop Voice:    

Large Neck Cancer  


Search barnesandnoble.com for Quitting Smoking  for larynx Cancer  for Death and Dying       Search PubMed for Larynx Cancer
Excellent Book: Living With The End In Mind    
Download FREE Tobacco I-Pad App

Smoking is by far the major risk factor for developing laryngeal cancer.   The use of alcohol and smoking further increases the risk of cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, and esophagus.

Somerset is located in south central Kentucky, in the hills of Appalachia.  Since my practice started in Somerset, I have evaluated 68 patients with invasive cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) of the voice box (larynx).  65 patients smoked.  64 patients had a 20 pack year, or greater, history of smoking (smoking 1/2 pack per day for 40 years).  Two patients had severe GE Reflux and in one patient the cause of the cancer was unknown.

The average age was 64 years.  The average length of smoking was 61 pack years. (A pack year is one pack per day smoked in one year, or one-half pack per day smoked over two years.)  14 patients had quit smoking.  Four patients had quit more than 25 years prior to developing the cancer.  Exposure to the carcinogens in tobacco can cause permanent genetic damage in the cells and tumors can develop years later.  Fifteen of these patients were treated with a laryngectomy (had their voice box removed). 

The pictures below show a patient's larynx pre and post biopsy for two T1 squamous cell carcinomas of the true vocal cords.  The patient was treated with vocal cord stripping and radiation therapy.
T1 Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the LarynxT1 Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Larynx - Post Op Appearance   
To the right is a picture showing the histopathology of the above patient's laryngeal cancer.  

To View a Slide Show  of the Micro Histopathology Click Here


Although radiation therapy is often used to treat early carcinomas of the larynx, surgical treatment can also be successful.  View Abstract

GoTo Cancer Staging

How Fast Can A Cancer Grow ?? 

If you are hoarse for more than four weeks, you definitely need to have your voice box (larynx) examined by a doctor.  Cancers usually grow slowly, but can sometimes grow fast.  Below are five pictures of a patient who is five years status post-radiation therapy for laryngeal cancer.  The two pictures on the left show an absence of a mass in the voice box.  The three on the right were taken one month later and show that a large tumor has developed, possibly arising from his lower throat (hypopharynx

Click On Pictures To Enlargege
Normal Larynx One Month Before Developing a Larynx CancerNormal Larynx One Month Before Developing a Larynx Cancer    Larynx Cancer Developing One Month After a Normal Examination
Larynx Cancer Developing One Month After a Normal ExaminationLarynx Cancer Developing One Month After a Normal Examination

   Video of a biopsy of a larynx cancer   
in a patient who smoked:  

    Video of Mucosal Stripping on a       

    Vocal Cord with Leukoplakia


 Facts About Smoking:       

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States,
causing more than 400,000 deaths each year and resulting in an annual cost of more than $50 billion in direct medical costs.

Each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires---combined!

Nationally, smoking results in more than 5 million years of potential life lost each year.

Approximately 80% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18. Every day, nearly 3,000 young people under the age of 18 become regular smokers.

More than 5 million children living today will die prematurely because of a decision they will make as adolescents---the decision to smoke cigarettes.

Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die an average of over 12 years sooner than non-smokers.  Smokers have more than one chance in 10 of developing lung cancer.

Studies also indicate that nonsmokers are adversely affected by environmental tobacco smoke. Researchers have identified more than 4,000 chemical compounds in tobacco smoke; of these, at least 43 cause cancer in humans and animals. Each year, because of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, and 300,000 children suffer from lower respiratory tract infections.

Particularly alarming is the fact that more than 3 million young people under age 18
smoke half a billion cigarettes each year and that more than one-half of them consider themselves dependent upon cigarettes. The decision to use tobacco is nearly always made in the teen years, and about one-half of young people usually continue to use tobacco products as adults.

T1 Cancer of the Right True Vocal Cord
Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking Among
Adults and Youths—United States, 1997

Kentucky:  Adults: 30.8%    Youth 47.0%

Kentucky has the highest rate of smoking in the United States.

Sources: CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (data on persons aged 18 years or older who reported having smoked 100 or more cigarettes and who reported currently smoking every day or some day), and CDC,Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (data on young people in grades 9–12 who reported smoking cigarettes on one or more of the 30 days preceding the survey).

For more on tobacco facts and smoking:            

Information on cigarette smoking as a cause of cancer:    



The Following Websites are Searched:  www.entusa.com, www.waent.org , www.ear-anatomy.com,
www.occupationalhearingloss.com, www.cme-usa.org and www.tobaccofacts.info

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Copyright 1999, 2001,2002, 2003,2004, 2008, 2009 
Kevin T Kavanagh,  All Rights Reserved

Page Last Updated 08/24/2023 
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