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Laryngopharyngeal Cancer

If an adult in your life has laryngopharyngeal cancer, you may want to learn more about it. This page has information about laryngopharyngeal cancer, its types and what to expect.

First, you should understand what cancer is. Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal cells that grow too rapidly. Our bodies are made of cells so tiny you need a microscope to see them. Cancer cells don’t look or act like normal cells, and they don’t allow our normal cells to work properly. There are many different types of cancer that can grow anywhere in the body.1 Krause CJ, Carey TE, Ott RW, Hurbis C, McClatchey KD, Regezi JA. Human squamous cell carcinoma. Establishment and characterization of new permanent cell lines. Arch Otolaryngol. Nov 1981;107(11):703-710.

The laryngopharynx combines the parts of the throat that include the larynx, hypopharynx and the cervical esophagus. This definition excludes the nasopharynx and oropharynx parts of the throat.

This term may be used for cancers in these three areas because tumors in any of these three areas can quickly invade another area as the cancer grows. This is because these three areas are so close together.

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Laryngopharyngeal cancer is particularly dangerous because many people don’t catch it in its early stages. Advanced cancer in the laryngopharynx and cervical esophagus is difficult to treat because the area is so vital for breathing and eating.

There are several types of laryngopharyngeal cancers, but over 90 percent are squamous cell carcinomas.1 Krause CJ, Carey TE, Ott RW, Hurbis C, McClatchey KD, Regezi JA. Human squamous cell carcinoma. Establishment and characterization of new permanent cell lines. Arch Otolaryngol. Nov 1981;107(11):703-710.

In some cases, depending on the size and extent of the tumor, the surgical removal for any of these cancers may be the same. Removing this entire complex is a surgical procedure called “Total Laryngopharyngectomy with Cervical Esophagectomy.”

Understanding laryngopharyngeal cancers

To learn more about a particular type of laryngopharyngeal cancer, choose an article below.

Hypopharyngeal Cancer

This article discusses hypopharyngeal cancer, or cancer of the lower throat, in detail.

Cervical Esophageal Cancer

This article discusses cervical esophageal cancer, or cancer of the top part of the esophagus, in detail.

Laryngeal Cancer

This article discusses laryngeal cancer, or cancer of the larynx (voice box), in detail.


References

1 Krause CJ, Carey TE, Ott RW, Hurbis C, McClatchey KD, Regezi JA. Human squamous cell carcinoma. Establishment and characterization of new permanent cell lines. Arch Otolaryngol. Nov 1981;107(11):703-710.

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