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Laryngeal Cancer Treatment Options

Several types of treatments are available for patients with cancer of the larynx. Some patients may only need surgery and/or radiation, while others may need to add medical oncology treatments that include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

Our laryngeal cancer specialists at Affiliated Oncologists create a unique treatment plan for each patient based on the stage of cancer, overall health condition, and whether the cancer has recurred. The recommended treatments may also change based on where the cancer is located to give you the best chance at keeping your ability to talk, eat, and breathe as normal as possible.


Surgery for Laryngeal Cancers

Often, surgery is used to treat cancer of the larynx. The specific surgery method used depends on the laryngeal cancer stage, the tumor's exact location, and if other tissues are involved. The goal for most of these surgeries is to remove all of the cancer and a small rim of healthy tissue around it.

For some early-stage head and neck cancer, surgery might be the only treatment required, but it may also be used along with other treatments, like radiotherapy or chemotherapy, for later-stage cancers.

Endoscopic Surgery

Using a thin tube with a light and a camera called an endoscope, your surgeon will look down the throat for the tumor. With the help of the camera, long surgical instruments are used to biopsy and remove some early-stage cancers of the larynx. For laryngeal cancer in early stages, endoscopic surgery can be as effective as radiation.

Vocal Cord Stripping

This type of surgery can remove cancer and the top layers of tissue on the vocal cords. This is commonly used for cancers or precancers that are on the surface of the vocal cords. Most patients have the ability to speak normally after this procedure.

Laser Surgery

The endoscope can also include the use of lasers to cut out the tumor. Sometimes this procedure is called transoral laser microsurgery (TLM).


Laryngectomy is the surgical procedure that removes part or all of the larynx, or voice box. This includes making an incision outside of the neck over the Adam’s apple.

  • Partial laryngectomy: Smaller cancers of the larynx often can be treated by removing only part of the voice box.
  • Supraglottic laryngectomy: only part of the larynx above the vocal cords is removed. This can be used to treat some supraglottic cancers.
  • Hemilaryngectomy: For small cancers of the vocal cords, the surgeon might be able to remove cancer by taking out only one side of the larynx and leaving the other behind.
  • Total laryngectomy: the entire larynx is removed. The trachea is then brought up through the skin of the front of your neck as a hole that you breathe through, known as a tracheostomy. By removing the entire larynx, you will no longer be able to speak like before, but you can learn other ways of speaking.

Radiation Therapy for Laryngeal Cancer

The use of high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Hyperfractionated radiation therapy, which is delivered in smaller doses at a more frequent pace, may be used to treat laryngeal cancer. Instead of one time per day, hypofractionated radiation therapy may deliver the radiation in two doses per day.

Chemotherapy for Cancer of the Larynx

The use of drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. The specific combination of medicines will depend on the location and stage of the laryngeal cancer as well as what works well for the patient.

Targeted Therapy for Cancer of the Larynx

A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to attack specific cancer cells or help to block receptors on cells that cancer cells attach to. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy does.

Immunotherapy for Laryngeal Cancer

The use of the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or biologic therapy.


Head and Neck Cancer: Questions to Ask Your Cancer Care Team

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laryngeal cancer patient asking questions to head and neck cancer doctor

Laryngeal Cancer Treatment in the South Chicago Suburbs

If you have received a cancer diagnosis and are seeking cancer treatment in the South Chicago suburbs, our oncologists offer the latest treatments for cancer of the larynx and second opinions on treatment and diagnosis.

At Affiliated Oncologists, we will help determine the best treatment plan by working alongside the surgeon and radiation oncologist. We offer outcome-based treatment, and convenient and personalized care, at cancer centers in Chicago Ridge, Mokena, Joliet, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, and Hazel Crest.