What to Know About Laryngeal Cancer Diagnosis

What to Know About Laryngeal Cancer Diagnosis

A procedure known as "direct laryngoscopy" is frequently used to identify laryngeal cancer. A camera-equipped tube is inserted into your throat during this surgery to analyse and biopsy your larynx.

Relatively uncommon, laryngeal cancer can induce a variety of nonspecific symptoms, including a persistently hoarse voice that has no apparent explanation. The first step in the laryngeal cancer diagnostic process is often to see a primary care physician who can:
  • perform a physical exam
  • review your symptoms
  • examine your medical history, including personal and family.
The doctor will probably refer you to a specialist known as an "otolaryngologist," or "ear, nose, and throat doctor," if they believe that further testing is necessary.

Discover the tests that medical professionals use to identify laryngeal cancer by reading on.

Review of your personal and family medical history

Language matters

You'll see that the terminology used to discuss risk factors in this part is somewhat dichotomous, especially when it comes to the use of the term "male."

It is important to be detailed when reporting on study participants and clinical findings, even though we often avoid using language like this.

Regretfully, neither the data nor the participants who were transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or genderless were included in the research and surveys that this article references.

Seeking a primary care physician is the first step in the diagnosis process for laryngeal cancer, among many other disorders. To determine if you have any risk factors for laryngeal cancer, they can examine your personal and family medical history. These include:
  • family history of cancer
  • age of more than 65 years
  • male sex
  • past smoking behaviour and potential exposure to secondhand smoke
  • drinking alcohol in moderan or over one drink each day
  • excess body weight
exposure to specific chemicals used in the workplace, like:
  • sulfuric acid
  • asbestos
  • wood dust
  • paint fumes
  • some chemicals used in the building, petroleum, or metallurgy industries

Review of your symptoms

When determining whether you may require additional testing, a doctor will take your symptoms into account. The following are the most typical signs of laryngeal cancer:
  • hoarseness
  • lingering cough
  • lingering sore throat
  • earache
  • pain when swallowing
  • lump in your throat

Physical exam

A physical examination will involve a doctor looking for lumps or swelling in your throat. They may:
  • Feel your tongue's base and your mouth's bottom.
  • Look at the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat.
  • Look for any swelling on your lips, cheeks, or inside your mouth.
  • examine your nose and ear


A procedure called a nasendoscopy gives medical professionals a clearer picture of your larynx. A little tube containing a light and a video camera is inserted into one of your nostrils and down into your throat during the examination. On a computer screen, the doctor will be able to view pictures of your throat.

Before the surgery, you might be given an anaesthetic spray to numb your throat and nose so you won't feel any pain.


Similar to a nasendoscopy, a laryngoscopy involves inserting a tube into your mouth rather than your nose. Physicians can use one of two methods:

Indirect laryngoscopy

Your doctor may use an anaesthetic spray to numb the back of your throat during an indirect laryngoscopy. To view your vocal cords, they will point a light in your direction and place a tiny, angled mirror at the back of your throat.

Direct laryngoscopy

Usually, direct laryngoscopy is done while you are unconscious thanks to general anaesthesia. Your doctor will use a long, thin tube equipped with a camera to take a close look at your larynx.

For laryngeal cancer, a laryngoscopy combined with a tissue sample is the gold standard diagnostic procedure.


Your voice cords are examined during a laryngostroboscopy as you speak. The method could be used to evaluate your speech either before or after therapy, or it could be used to help diagnose laryngeal cancer.

A long tube with a camera will be inserted down your neck during the process, and images of the movement of your vocal cords will be produced using flashing lights.


A panendoscopy consists of the following:
  • laryngoscopy
  • using an esophagoscopy to see your oesophagus
  • bronchoscopy for pulmonary examination
A panendoscopy can be used by medical professionals to determine if your cancer has progressed to your oesophagus or lungs. General anaesthesia is used for the performance of all panendoscopies.


A biopsy is a little sample of tissue that can be obtained during a laryngoscopy or nasendoscopy. If a tumour is malignant, doctors can use a microscope to study this tissue sample. This tissue sample can also be used by doctors to determine the possible subtype of cancer you have.

A technique known as "fine needle aspiration" could be utilised to get a lymph node sample. A long, thin needle will be injected into your lymph node during this treatment.


After a biopsy, imaging tests could be carried out to determine the extent of your cancer's spread. Among the imaging kinds you might get are:
  • CT scan
  • PET-CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • ultrasound

Blood tests

Before starting therapy, doctors can evaluate your overall health by using blood tests to determine how well important organs like your liver and kidneys are functioning.

Your physician might want to measure your:
  • complete blood count
  • albumin levels
  • indicators of kidney and liver function
  • platelet count
  • thyroid function
  • electrolyte levels

Speech and swallowing tests

It is frequently advised to get an evaluation of your speaking and swallowing abilities with a speech therapist before receiving therapy. You can be given a test known as a "videofluoroscopy."

An X-ray called a videofluoroscopy takes a picture of your throat while you're swallowing.


Visiting a primary care physician or other healthcare provider who can conduct a physical examination and go over your personal and family medical history is often the first step in the diagnostic procedure for laryngeal cancer. They will probably recommend you to a specialist if they believe there's a risk you have cancer.

A tiny sample of tissue can be taken and your larynx can be examined by doctors using a long, thin tube equipped with a camera. It is possible to examine this tissue sample for cancer cells in a lab.

If you experience a persistent change in your voice or any other worrisome symptoms that might be early signs of laryngeal cancer, you must consult a physician.

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