Symptoms of cancer of the voicebox (larynx)
Your symptoms will depend on where in the larynx the cancer is. Most cancers of the larynx begin on, or close to, one of the vocal cords.
Common symptoms include:
- changes to your voice (such as hoarseness)
- a swelling or lump in your neck or throat
- difficulty swallowing or pain when chewing or swallowing
- earache that doesn’t get better
- feeling breathless.
A change in your voice can be an early symptom of laryngeal cancer. If you’ve had hoarseness for more than three weeks, your GP (family doctor) should refer you to a hospital for tests.
Less commonly, the first symptoms may be a lump in the throat or neck, or discomfort or pain when swallowing. This usually happens when the cancer starts in a part of the larynx that isn’t close to the vocal cords.
If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s important to let your GP know. They can all be caused by other conditions, but it’s important to get them checked.