MALIGNANT TUMOURS OF THE LARYNX (LARYNGEAL CANCER) INTRODUCTION
Laryngeal cancer is the commonest malignant tumour of the head and neck throughout the Western world. Almost all tumours are related to cigarette smoking. Of the few which are not, the majority occur in old age or in occasional individuals who have had long-standing problems with juvenile laryngeal papillomatosis (Chapter 56) persisting into adult life. Untreated, laryngeal cancer is a lethal disease and advanced cases are hard to cure. Cases diagnosed at an early stage, however, are almost all completely curable by radiotherapy. Early diagnosis is therefore of the utmost importance, and it cannot be too strongly emphasised that any patient who develops hoarseness which does not resolve over a period of 3-4 weeks should be referred to the ENT specialist for examination of the larynx.