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Vocal Cord Cancer

Vocal Cord Cancer

Cell division is a biological event that is necessary for the reproduction of single-celled organisms, the renewal of tissues in multicellular organisms and the growth and development of living organisms.

This division occurs continuously in some tissues and at certain times in others. Healthy cells in the human body, other than muscle and nerve cells, are also capable of division.

Vocal Cord Cancer

Cell division is controlled by a mechanism composed of groups of molecules that work cyclically in the cell and coordinate the events that occur in the cell. Sometimes, due to some damage to the DNA, cells continue to divide uncontrollably and multiply even though there is no need for new cells, i.e. no need for division. These unnecessary cells accumulate into a mass and form tumors. Malignant tumors / tumors formed by the mass of cells in tissues or organs that divide and multiply outside the control of the control mechanism are called cancer. These malignant tumors can compress, infiltrate or damage normal tissues to make room for themselves. In addition, cancer cells can leave the tumor in which they accumulate and travel through the bloodstream to other tissues and organs, spread rapidly throughout the body (metastasis), and continue their irregular and uncontrolled division to form new tumors.

Vocal Cord Cancer or Vocal Cord Carcinoma are malignant tumors formed by the irregular and uncontrolled division of some of the tissues and cells on the vocal cords or coming from another part of the body and settling on the vocal cords. Since the vocal cords form the part of the larynx known as the glottis, it is also called Glottis Carcinoma. They start to appear as a white (leukoplakia) or red (erythroplakia) plaque on the vocal cords. Formations on the vocal cords such as nodules, polyps, cysts or precancerous cells (precancerous) are quick to recognize and diagnose because they first cause hoarseness. Vocal cord cancer can be treated if it is diagnosed at the initial stage, before it spreads to the larynx. The vast majority of cancers in the larynx are surface-covering, skin-type, squamous cancers that occur in the vocal cords.

The cartilage and sparse lymphatic tissue around the voice box in the larynx prevent cancer cells in the vocal cords from spreading rapidly and invading another organ. For this reason, vocal cord cancer stays in its own area for 6-9 months without spreading. If the cancer is found to have spread to the surrounding area during diagnosis, it is considered a late stage of cancer.

The most important predisposing factors for vocal cord cancer are smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Although it is also seen in women of different ages and smokers, it is usually seen in men between the ages of 50-70. The likelihood of vocal cord cancer in non-smokers is very low.
In addition, genetic structure, viruses and bacteria, exposure to asbestos (amyant) minerals, excessive use of wood and metal dusts, chromium and nickel-containing paints and varnishes, malnutrition, reflux and laryngitis diseases and a weakened immune system can also cause vocal cord cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Vocal Cord Cancer?

The first and most obvious symptom of vocal cord formations such as nodules, polyps, cysts or precancerous cells is hoarseness lasting more than two weeks. Symptoms such as voice changes, difficulty in breathing, chronic sore throat, ear pain, bloody cough, difficulty in swallowing and swallowing, lumps/masses felt in the neck area, weight loss may also be observed together with or independently of hoarseness.

When symptoms appear or complaints increase, the patient should be examined in detail by an ear-nose-throat specialist. First of all, the vocal cords are examined with endoscopic devices. The most commonly used endoscopic imaging tools are laryngoscopy, which consists of a light, a camera and a narrow tunnel through the nose, and videostroboscopy, a telescope camera using an intermittent light source. If cancerous cells are found during this examination, tissue samples (biopsy) are taken for pathological examination. X-rays, ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be ordered if necessary. Subsequently, the diagnosis is made and a decision is made on the appropriate treatment methods, such as chemotherapy using chemical drugs, radiation therapy with radioactive rays / radiotherapy (radiation therapy) and endoscopic surgery. The condition and age of the patient, the stage of the cancer and the location of the cancer are important in the decision.

Chemotherapy can sometimes be used alone or before, during or after radiotherapy and surgical interventions. Chemotherapy, which is primarily used to shrink the tumor or prevent its growth, can be used in combination with other methods or as a preventive protocol to prevent the tumor from spreading. It is usually used for advanced cancers.

In cases where cancerous cells are found to spread, radiation therapy is applied. It is aimed at destroying cancerous cells by administering a certain dose of radioactive radiation to the neck area every day. Side effects can be seen after radiation treatments, painful wounds that prevent nutrition in the mouth and throat area may occur, and as a natural consequence, excessive weight loss may occur. In addition, even if the wounds heal over time, permanent swallowing problems may occur. Radiation therapy can only be applied to the same area once. However, about 10 years after radiation treatments, problems arising from this treatment are experienced. For this reason, endoscopic surgery methods are preferred in cases that can be healed because they involve less risk. It is considered that it will be more efficient to apply the surgical surgery method especially to people between the ages of 30-70.

In the treatment of vocal cord cancers that are limited to a small area, endoscopic surgery is performed and the tumor is cut or scraped from the area where it is located or burned with a laser.

What are the Stages of Vocal Cord Cancer?

When a diagnosis of vocal cord cancer is made, the stage of the cancer needs to be known so that the best treatment method can be applied. Staging is a detailed study to determine whether or where the cancer has spread. Knowing the stage of the cancer helps the doctor to predict the course of the disease and to know whether there is a chance of recovery.
Different staging systems are used around the world. The most common staging system is the Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) System developed jointly by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the International Union for Cancer Control (UICC). The TNM staging system classifies cancers based on the size and extension of the first diagnosed tumor (T), regional lymph node involvement (N) and the presence of distant metastasis (M). Accordingly, there are 4 stages of vocal cord cancer, excluding Carcinoma in Situ:

  • Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)): Precancerous cells (precancerous) can be found on the surface of the vocal cord(s), which have the risk of developing into cancer and spreading to nearby tissues.
  • Stage 1 (Local Carcinoma - Locally): Cancerous tissue can be found on one or both vocal cords. The function of the vocal cords is normal, both cords are able to move.
  • Stage 2 (Early Locally Advanced): The cancerous tissue has spread to one or both of the upper larynx (supraglottis) and lower larynx (subglottis). The function of the vocal cords is abnormal, they cannot move normally.
  • Stage 3 (Late Locally Advanced Carcinoma): It is about whether the cancer tissue has spread.
  • The cancer is only in the larynx and the vocal cords cannot move, or the cancer is in the tissues around the larynx. The cancer may have spread to a lymph node 3 cm or smaller.
  • The cancer may be in one or both vocal cords but may have spread to a lymph node 3 cm or smaller. The vocal cords can move normally.
  • The cancer may have spread to one or both of the upper larynx (supraglottis) and lower larynx (subglottis), or to a lymph node 3 cm or smaller. The vocal cords cannot move normally.
  • Stage 4 (Metastasized Carcinoma - Metastasized): It is about whether the cancer tissue has spread beyond the neck. It is divided into 3 sections.
  • Phase 4A: The cancer has spread from the thyroid cartilage and has spread outside the neck area, but may have spread to a lymph node 3 to 6 cm in size. The vocal cords may not move normally.
  • Phase 4B: The cancer has spread into the space in front of the spine and wraps around the carotid artery (the artery on either side of the neck), or it may have spread to the chest and spread to one or more lymph nodes of any size. The vocal cords may not move normally.
  • Phase 4C: The cancer has spread to other organs and structures such as the lung, liver and bone.

How Is Vocal Cord Cancer Surgery Performed?

Vocal Cord Surgery is usually performed in stages 1 and 2 of cancer. The aim is to destroy the tumor while preserving cancer-free normal tissue. It can be performed in the mouth or rarely in the neck.

Depending on the location and condition of the tumor, endoscopic surgical equipment can be used to remove most of the voice box, reconstruct the voice box, remove the tumor by cutting or scraping, or destroy the tumor by laser application. Sometimes the larynx is completely removed or lymph nodes are removed.

Surgical interventions do not take long. However, the recovery time varies depending on the method and the operation performed. It is also decided whether radiotherapy or chemotherapy will be applied after surgery. Considering all these, it should be foreseen that the treatment can last from a few weeks to several years.

Since vocal cord cancer is characterized by hoarseness, it usually allows early diagnosis. Therefore, the treatment success rate is quite high.

If you are experiencing hoarseness and breathing difficulties, you can contact us using our contact information; you can be treated in our center, which is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of vocal cord disorders, uses tools and apparatus equipped with the latest technologies, prioritizes your special demands and needs, and get more detailed information about your disease.


Vocal Cord Cancer Information About

1 Seans
How Many Sessions Are Performed 1 Seans
1 Hour
Processing Time 1 Hour
5 Days Later
When to Return to Work 5 Days Later
Everyone's body structure is different. Therefore, everyone's treatment process, planning and results also differ. The information given about the procedure is average values. Please contact us for detailed information. communication get along.

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