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Laryngeal Cancer

Asbestos was once a common building material, prized for both for its insulation properties and its ability to add strength to a structure. We now know that it is an extremely dangerous substance capable of causing many types of cancer. Although mesothelioma gets more attention, it is also possible to develop laryngeal cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos.

Laryngeal cancer, also known as cancer of the larynx or laryngeal carcinoma, is cancer of the larynx, or voice box. The voice box is the part of the throat that houses the vocal cords. As a result, it is quite important for speaking. In addition to housing the vocal cords, the larynx is part of the structure of the throat.

Cancer can develop in any part of the larynx. However, not all parts are equally treatable. Because treatment depends on the origin and location of the tumor, staging of the disease is divided into three anatomical regions of the larynx. They are:

  • The glottis: The part of the larynx housing the true vocal cords.
  • The supraglottis: The epiglottis, arytenoids, and false cords.
  • The subglottis: The part of the larynx that takes air to the lungs.

In a majority of laryngeal cancer cases, there are tumors present in the glottis. The other two types of cancer are far less common. Like other types of cancer, laryngeal cancer can spread to other parts of the body, either through metastasis or the blood stream. Most commonly, the cancer spreads from the larynx to the lungs.

While smoking is the most common cause of laryngeal cancer, heavy, chronic consumption of alcohol can also be a significant cause. When heavy drinking is combined with heavy smoking, there seems to be a synergistic effect. Another, less common, cause of laryngeal cancer is exposure to asbestos.

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If you have been exposed to asbestos, contact the mesothelioma attorneys of Williams Hart at 800-781-3955.

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