Laryngeal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the larynx (voice box).

The larynx is part of the throat found at the entrance of the windpipe (trachea). It plays an important role in helping you breathe and speak.

The risk associated with developing a laryngeal cancer is increased by smoking tobacco, regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol and having an unhealthy diet. The condition is more common in people over the age of 50. It is about four times more common in men than women.

The main treatments for laryngeal cancer are radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy or surgery to remove the cancerous cells from the larynx can often cure laryngeal cancer if it's diagnosed early. If the cancer is advanced, a combination of surgery to remove part (or all) of the larynx, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be used.

If you have surgery to remove your larynx you will breathe via a different route, but every effort is undertaken to maintain voice production. Breathing will be through a permanent hole in your neck (stoma) and you will need additional treatment to help restore your voice. This may include an implant in your throat, or an electrical device you hold against your throat to produce sound.

Fortunately, most laryngeal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, which means the outlook is generally better than some other types of cancer.

Read more about diagnosing and treating head and neck cancer at UCLH.