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What Are the Symptoms of Laryngeal Cancer?

The symptoms of laryngeal cancer depend on the location and size of the tumor. Tumors are most often found on the vocal cords. Although they are not usually painful, they do cause changes in the voice.

Tumors that are located above the vocal cords may cause the following symptoms:

  • Lump in the neck or feeling that something is stuck in your throat

  • Sore throat

  • Earache

Tumors that begin in the area below the vocal cords often don't cause hoarseness and are not discovered until an advanced stage because of this. These tumors are rare.

These are some other warning signs of cancer of the larynx:

  • Hoarseness that lasts longer than 2 weeks

  • Trouble swallowing or breathing

  • A cough or sore throat or both that will not go away

  • Choking on food (this can happen as the tumor grows)

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Bad breath

  • Ear pain that does not go away

A doctor can tell if these symptoms are caused by cancer or by other, less serious problems. Usually, people with these symptoms visit an ear, nose, and throat specialist (called an otolaryngologist or a head and neck surgeon) to be checked.