Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of cancer of the larynx depend mainly on the size and location of the tumor.
- Most cancers of the larynx begin on the vocal cords. These tumors are seldom painful, but they almost always cause hoarseness or other changes in the voice.
- Tumors in the area above the vocal cords may cause a lump on the neck, a sore throat or an earache.
- Tumors that begin in the area below the vocal cords are rare and can make it hard to breathe. Your breathing may become noisy.
A cough that doesn't go away or the feeling of a lump in the throat may also be warning signs of cancer of the larynx. As the tumor grows, it may cause pain, weight loss, bad breath, and choking on food. In some cases, a tumor in the larynx can make it hard to swallow.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.