Clinical course of laryngeal cancer
With the localization of cancer in the lower larynx, the initial symptom of the disease is difficulty breathing, since this part of the larynx is the narrowest and the tumor even with small dimensions interferes with breathing. Later, with increasing tumor size and moving it to the vocal fold, hoarseness joins. The latter is especially pronounced in cases of deep infiltration of the underlying tissues and immobility of the affected half of the larynx. Characteristic for the laryngological picture of tumors of this localization is a tuberous infiltrate without clear boundaries, usually one-sided, often with ulceration, located most often in the anterior larynx.
With increasing tumor size, there are common symptoms of laryngeal cancer common to all localizations, such as a cough with a significant amount of sputum, sometimes with a trace of blood in it, putrid odor from the mouth due to disintegration and infection of the tumor. There may be bleeding. With extensive tumor lesions, the configuration of the cartilage of the larynx can change. There is a smoothness of their contours in connection with involvement in the tumor process and the attachment of inflammatory phenomena. When the tumor spreads to the posterior parts of the larynx, the symptom of slip or crepitation of the larynx disappears from the spine.
In later terms, there are constant pains with irradiation in one or both ears. Pain sensations are often associated with the act of swallowing and depend on the mechanical stimulation of the tumor, and also on the movements of the larynx when swallowing. Especially great suffering causes the patient a tumor with significant infiltration of underlying tissues and deep ulceration. The presence of a common cancer of the larynx leads always to one degree or another of the violation of the act of swallowing with the ingestion of food and saliva into the respiratory tract.