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Non-cancerous conditions of the larynx
A non-cancerous (benign) condition of the larynx is a change to laryngeal cells, but it is not cancer. Non-cancerous conditions do not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and are not usually life-threatening.
Non-cancerous conditions of the larynx include:
- vocal cord nodules
- contact granulomas
- vocal cord cysts
- vocal cord polyps
- laryngeal papillomatosis
The following risk factors increase your chance of developing a non-cancerous condition of the larynx:
- overuse or misuse of the voice (such as excessive speaking or singing, speaking in an improper pitch or constant shouting)
- acid reflux
- postnasal drip
- inhaling irritants
- constant coughing
HPV infection increases the risk for laryngeal papillomatosis.
The symptoms of non-cancerous conditions of the larynx include:
- a weak or breathy voice
- trouble breathing
- noisy breathing
- pain when swallowing or speaking
If you have symptoms or your doctor thinks you might have a non-cancerous condition, you will be sent for tests. Tests used to diagnose or rule out non-cancerous conditions or laryngeal cancer include:
- a physical exam
- a laryngoscopy
- a biopsy
Treatment options for non-cancerous conditions of the larynx include:
- avoiding the cause such as smoking, loud speaking or improper singing
- voice therapy
- medicines to reduce acid reflux
- surgical removal
What’s the lifetime risk of getting cancer?
The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report shows about half of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.