A person should seek early medical attention if he has a persistent hoarse voice or a persistent sore throat, a painless lump in the neck, feels pain on swallowing, has difficulty swallowing, or has noisy breathing known as stridor. As cancer can spread to other organs in the body, symptoms may affect the lungs or bone in the later stage of cancer.
Smoking is one of the most common risk factors associated with larynx cancer. Alcohol consumption is also a risk factor. Smokers who also drink alcohol have a much higher risk of developing larynx cancer than those who only smoke or who only drink alcohol.
If larynx cancer is suspected, the doctor will examine swelling or lumps in the neck. An angled mirror that faces downwards is placed against the back of the throat (the palate) to examine the voice box and surrounding organs. Alternatively, a flexible tube, less than a centimetre in diameter, is passed into one of the nostrils to the back of the throat to look for lumps or ulcers in the voice box and surrounding areas.