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Larynx & Esophageal Cancer

written by: DaniellaNicole • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 10/4/2010

The relationship between larynx & esophageal cancer can be best explained by exploring what each type of cancer is and how one can trigger the other. Learn the statistics regarding head and neck cancer, as well as how cancer can spread from the larynx to the esophagus.

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    Introduction

    The relationship between larynx & esophageal cancer involve where the cancer is located and in how cancer can spread. The following is information regarding head and neck cancers, larynx cancer, esophageal cancer and how the two are related.

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    Head and Neck Cancer Statistics

    According to Medline Plus, increased risk for head and neck cancers occur due to the use of tobacco and alcohol, with 85 percent of cases being linked to the use of tobacco.

    As to the frequency of occurrence, the National Institute of Health states that three to five percent of the cancer cases in the United States are head and neck cancers. It goes on to say that these types of cancers are more common in men than in women, as well as in people over the age of 50.

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    Larynx Cancer

    Larynx cancer is also referred to as throat cancer. The term throat cancer covers the cancer that develops in the larynx, tonsils and throat. The National Cancer Institute states “most head and neck cancers begin in the squamous cells that line the mucosal surfaces in the head and neck."

    The larynx is also known as the voice box. It is located just below the throat.

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    Esophageal Cancer

    The esophagus is the tube that begins at the throat and runs to the stomach. It is the means by which food is taken to the digestive system.

    When esophageal cancer begins, it tends to appear first in the cells found in the interior lining of the esophagus. The lower part of the esophagus is the most common site of esophageal cancer in the United States. Around the globe, esophageal cancer most often is located in the middle section of the esophagus. According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of esophageal cancer are not clear.

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    Larynx and Esophageal Cancer: The Relationship

    Squamous cell carcinoma is the classification given to the type of esophageal cancer that is found in the middle portion of the esophagus. Cancer can also occur in the squamous cells of the larynx. A rating of Stage IVA is given to laryngeal cancer that has spread beyond the original site of the larynx to other areas, including the esophagus.

    Cancer spreads in several different ways. One is by invading surrounding tissue. A second means of spreading is through the bloodstream. The third way cancer can spread is via the lymph system. The term for the cancerous cells spreading through the bloodstream or lymph system is called metastasis.

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    Summary

    The relationship between larynx and esophageal cancer are first that in both cases that the squamous cells found in the lining can be cancerous. The second is that cancer can spread from one site to the other.

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    References

    Head and Neck Cancer. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Last review April 21, 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/headandneckcancer.html

    Head and Neck Cancer: Questions and Answers. National Cancer Institute. U.S. National Institutes of Health. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/head-and-neck

    Laryngeal Cancer Treatment: Stages of Laryngeal Cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/laryngeal/Patient/page2

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