About this disease

What it is about

Laryngeal cancer can destroy the larynx and, in the course of its development, form distant offshoots in the body, so-called metastases. Since the main risk factors for the development of laryngeal cancer are smoking and the consumption of alcohol, the incidence of the disease increases with age. If the cancer is detected at an early stage, it can be cured with the help of a combination of different forms of therapy such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.


Depending on which part of the larynx is affected, it is referred to as supraglottic, glottic or subglottic laryngeal carcinoma. Glottic tumors are the most common (glottis), subglottic tumors (below the glottis) the rarest.

Symptoms and consequences

If laryngeal cancer affects the glottis, symptoms such as increasing hoarseness or a change in the voice usually appear early on. Complaints such as pain in the throat area radiating into the head or difficulty swallowing with repeated swallowing also occur. In the advanced stage, there are often general complaints such as weight loss and weakness.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

If laryngeal cancer is suspected, a specialist in otorhinolaryngology should be consulted. During a laryngeal endoscopy, a tissue sample can be taken to determine whether the cancer is actually cancerous. In addition, the extent of the cancer can be estimated. Further clarifications such as an imaging examination are performed to determine the stage of the cancer.


If the tumor is well demarcated, surgery can usually be performed. If too much of the larynx would have to be removed, combined radio-chemotherapy is often advised instead of surgery. In this case, the larynx is irradiated and chemotherapy is administered at the same time, which makes the cancerous tissue more receptive to the radiation. If the cancer has already spread and metastases are present elsewhere in the body, a so-called system therapy is usually used. This consists of chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy.

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