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Laryngeal Tumors


3d illustration of larynx where laryngeal tumors develop

The BSSNY neurosurgeons of our Head/Neck Tumors Center of Excellence are experts in treating both benign and malignant laryngeal tumors. The larynx – also known as the “voice box” – is located at the back of the throat and extends down. Its job is to carry air from the nose and mouth to the trachea and then into the lungs.


Several types of benign laryngeal tumors can occur in the larynx, including laryngeal papillomatosis, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Between 60 and 80 percent of all cases of laryngeal papillomatosis occur in children. The causes and reasons for the spread of the virus are largely unknown. These growths can cause vocal cord damage and airway problems.


A variety of malignant tumors can also arise in the larynx. Risks factors for cancer of the larynx include:

  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Age (laryngeal cancer is more common in people over 55)
  • Gender (men are four times more likely than women to contract the disease)
  • Race (African-Americans have a higher incidence of laryngeal cancer)
  • Exposure to cancer-causing materials such as asbestos


Benign and malignant tumors can both manifest with similar symptoms, which include:

  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A sensation of having a lump in the throat
  • Rough or scratchy voice
  • Difficulty or pain with swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Voice weakness and strain


Treatment differs for benign tumors and malignant tumors. For example, laryngeal papillomas typically involve laser ablation of the lesions. This is a minimally invasive technique that can be done with an awake patient to treat mild to moderate amounts of papilloma. This technique, among others, is used to help minimize damage to normal healthy vocal fold tissue.


Treatment for laryngeal cancer depends on the type of malignancy and the stage at which the condition is diagnosed. Surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy may be required.

Contact us today for an appointment!