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I’ve Just Been Told I Have Laryngeal Cancer

There are very few things scarier than being told you have cancer. You may feel like you’re in shock. You may not even want to believe what the doctor has told you. You may have so many questions to ask that you don't even know where to start. 

First of all, it’s OK to be overwhelmed. And it’s OK to feel afraid. But you shouldn’t let those feelings stop you from finding out as much as you can about your cancer and about the options you have. Because the more you know, the less helpless and afraid you will feel. And the more you know, the better you will be able to work with your health care team to make the best choices for your treatment.

To decide the best course of treatment, your doctor needs to know as much as possible about your cancer. This will involve getting a variety of tests and working with more than one health care professional.

For example, your health care team will likely include a doctor who specializes in cancer, called a medical oncologist, and an oncology nurse. You may also see cancer specialists with different areas of expertise, such as a radiation oncologist. For laryngeal cancer, it’s also likely you’ll see an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) or a head and neck surgeon. The team will answer your questions and guide you through each of the steps that you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests are being done and what the results mean. They’ll help you in making treatment decisions.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, you may want to consider getting a second opinion. In fact, some insurance companies require a second opinion for such diagnoses. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is unlikely that the time it will take to get a second opinion will have a negative impact on your treatment. The peace of mind a second opinion provides may be well worth the effort.

People with laryngeal cancer now have more treatment choices than ever before. There is more hope for survival, especially when the cancer is found at an early stage. Doctors keep finding new ways to help people with laryngeal cancer. There is more being learned about this type of cancer and its prevention, detection, and treatment every day.