What Are Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers?

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What Are Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers?

The reported cases of head and neck cancer (HNC) is approximately half a million globally. Of all the cancer cases reported in the U.S., 3% are in the head and neck. According to the American Cancer Society, 12,370 new cases have been reported in 2020. Men account for 9,820 cases. Approximately a total of 3,750 people will die from HNC by the end of the year. Of the total deaths, 80 percent will be of men.

With the most common type of cancers in the head and neck being laryngeal and hypopharyngeal, what exactly are these two types of cancers? Well, be sure to stick on as we dissect the two types of cancers.

Laryngeal cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the larynx tissue. So what is larynx? The larynx, also referred to as the voice box, is situated on top of the trachea. It is an essential organ as it aids in breathing, swallowing, and talking. The larynx has three parts, which are glottis that holds vocal cords, supraglottis, and subglottis.

Hypopharynx, on the other hand, is located at the lower part of the throat. Hypopharynx, also referred to as the gullet, is the organ that surrounds the larynx. The pharynx, a hollow tube commonly referred to as the throat, is also impacted. Having seen what larynx and pharynx are, let’s explore the cancers likely to affect the two organs.

Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers

The cancers are malignant tumors that grow in the lower part of the throat. The cancers that form in the throat are called squamous cell cancers. They form from the lining of the structures called the epithelium, which naturally produce a non-cancerous cell..

The American Cancer Society (ACS) statistics indicate that laryngeal cancer is more common than hypopharyngeal cancer. Annually, in America, there are over 12,000 reported cases of laryngeal cancer. Hypopharyngeal accounts for around 2,500 cases. Point to note is that these cancers are more prevalent in men than women.

Signs and Symptoms of Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal cancers

There are several signs and symptoms to look out for. Also, to note is that some people with throat cancers do not exhibit these signs and symptoms, at least in the early stages. It is, therefore, crucial to visit your doctor regularly. If you are in L.A. and you are not sure where to start, be at ease. At Westside Head & Neck, we offer the best consultation and treatment options in California. We have specialist ENT doctors in Los Angeles.

Look out for the below signs and symptoms:

  • Lump in the neck or enlarged lymph node
  • Voice changes that stick up to two weeks
  • Persistent difficult in swallowing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • A sore throat that won’t go away
  • Ear pain
  • Fatigue
  • Choking
  • The onset of bad breath
  • Unexplained weight loss

Head and Neck Cancer Doctors Los Angeles

Are you concerned about any of these symptoms? Wait no more. Contact us at Westside Head & Neck to schedule an appointment. Steer clear from self-diagnoses. If you feel any of the symptoms previously listed, it’s best to avoid delaying treatment. Schedule a visit for your peace of mind.

Causes and Risk Factors

They say prevention is better than cure. To that end, let’s look at some of the causes and risk factors associated with throat cancers. It is essential to be aware of them to guide you in making good choices concerning your health and lifestyle.

The exact cause of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal is not yet known. However, there are risk factors that significantly influence the two cancers. The common ones include tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Approximately 85 percent of HNC cases are associated with tobacco use. Other factors include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Occupation
  • Plummer-Vinson syndrome
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

If you are still unsure of the two cancers up to this point, please visit a specialist for further consultation. Better yet, if you are in L.A., we have got the best board-certified doctors that are specialized in treating this form of cancer. Visit us for the right diagnosis and advice on preventing HNC.

So what happens if you visit us? Our doctors will take your medical history as well as perform a physical examination. We will carefully examine your neck region to check for possible swelling, tenderness, lump, or other unusual changes. Other forms of diagnostic may include:

  • Endoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • MRI
  • PET scan
  • Bone scan
  • CT scan

What will happen if you get diagnosed with cancer? We understand this news can be difficult.. Confusion jumps in immediately but is at ease. Don’t worry – at Westside Head & Neck, we care. We will counsel and take you through the available treatment options.

Treatment of Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers

Like any other form of cancer, laryngeal and hypopharyngeal treatment depends on different factors. The most vital being your overall health and the stage of cancer. The two forms of cancers, however, are treated depending on the stage of cancer. Main treatment often includes:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy

The most common type of treatment is surgery and radiation. But this will solely depend on the stage of cancer, your preference, your overall health, and possible side effects.

Chemotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Los Angeles

We offer chemotherapy for cancer treatment in Los Angeles. Chemotherapy is necessary before invasive procedures to destroy as many cancer cells. Confused as to why? It is understandable. But to ease your worry, our experts shall walk you through the chemotherapy procedure, possible side effects, and its efficacy in treating cancer.

Before You Go

Cancer can happen to anyone. If you feel any of the signs and symptoms above, wait no more. Visit us for specialist care for all of your discomfort. Our team is well-versed in throat cancer treatments, and will discuss the best plan to get your health back on track. Call us or email us today for the best care.


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Head & Neck Cancer


Head & Neck Cancer is a term used to describe a number of different malignant tumors that develop in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth.

Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they begin in the flat, squamous cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck. Directly beneath this lining, which is called the epithelium, some areas of the head and neck have a layer of moist tissue, called the mucosa. If a cancer is limited to the squamous layer of cells, it is called carcinoma in situ. If the cancer has grown beyond this cell layer and moved into the deeper tissue, then it is called invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

Types of Head & Neck Cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, each named according to the part of the body where they develop.   For more information, including signs and symptoms about each different form of  head and neck cancers listed below, click on the links below to read more on Cancer.net.

Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer. The larynx is commonly called the voice box. It is a tube-shaped organ in the neck that is important for breathing, talking, and swallowing. It is located at the top of the windpipe, or trachea. The hypopharynx is also called the gullet. It is the lower part of the throat that surrounds the larynx.

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer. The nasal cavity is the space just behind the nose where air passes on the way to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are the air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer. The nasopharynx is the air passageway at the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer. The oral cavity includes the mouth and tongue. The oropharynx includes the middle of the throat from the tonsils to the tip of the voice box.

Salivary Gland Cancer. The salivary gland is tissue that produces saliva, which is the fluid that is released into the mouth to keep it moist and that contains enzymes that begin breaking down food.

Information above provided by & approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board06/2014

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