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Coping with cancer of the larynx

Men and women discussing laryngeal cancer

This page contains information about coping with laryngeal cancer. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Coping with laryngeal cancer

It can be very difficult to cope with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. You are likely to feel very upset and confused at first. You may also have to come to terms with no longer being able to speak and breathe normally. Having your larynx removed can be very upsetting and it takes time to adjust to this.

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words? You may have children to think about.

The coping with cancer section has lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about

  • Your feelings
  • Talking to people – who and what to tell
  • Talking to children
  • How you can help yourself
  • Who else can help you
  • Financial support
  • Mortgages, pensions, loans and insurance

There is a network of clubs for people who have had their larynx removed. You can get details of your local club from the National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs.

 

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Coping with your diagnosis

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. Or that things are out of your control. It is very important to get the right information about the type of cancer you have and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.

 

How cancer of the larynx can affect you physically

If you have had surgery to remove your larynx you may have to cope with changes in how you breathe and speak. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and affect the way you feel about yourself. It can affect your self esteem and how you relate to others, especially those very close to you. If you are in a sexual relationship, one or all of these changes may affect your sex life. 

Another problem you may have to cope with is feeling very tired and lethargic a lot of the time. This is common in a lot of people who have cancer in the head and neck area, especially if the cancer is advanced. 

You can find more information about having a breathing stoma, speaking after a laryngectomy and changes in your sex life.

We also have detailed information on fatigue and cancer in the section on coping physically with cancer.

Managing practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words? You may also have children to think about.

Just try to remember that you do not have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it though. It is likely that your doctor or specialist head and neck cancer nurse will know who you can contact to get some help – they can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting those with cancer. These people are there to help and want you to feel that you have lots of support. So use them if you feel you need to.

 

Where to find more information on coping with cancer

The coping with cancer section has lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about

If you would like more information about coping with laryngeal cancer, you can contact one of the laryngeal cancer organisations. They will be happy to help you. Some have free factsheets and booklets, which they can send to you. 

You can also contact our cancer information nurses and they would be happy to help.

We also have details of counselling organisations who can tell you more about counselling and help you to find sources of emotional support in your area. There is a network of clubs for people who have had their larynx removed. You can get details of your local club from the National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs. They can provide support from people who have had similar treatment to you.

If you want to find people to share experiences with online, you could use CancerChat, our online forum. 

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Updated: 23 July 2015