About laryngeal cancer chemotherapy | Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter
 

A quick guide to what's on this page

About laryngeal cancer chemotherapy

Chemotherapy means anti cancer drugs. These destroy cancer cells.

Chemoradiation

You may have radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the same time if you have a locally advanced tumour. You may hear this called synchronous therapy or chemoradiation. You may go on to have surgery after this. But some people do not need any surgery as they have no sign of cancer afterwards. Your doctor may suggest chemoradiation to try and cure your cancer instead of having your larynx removed. With chemoradiation there is a chance you will still be able to speak afterwards.

Chemotherapy before surgery

If you have an advanced cancer that has not spread to another organ, but can't be removed with surgery, you may have chemotherapy. This is to try to shrink the cancer so it can then be operated on.

Chemotherapy for advanced cancer

Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat cancer of the larynx that is advanced or has come back after treatment with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy can relieve symptoms and may slow the growth of your cancer. Your doctor may call this palliative chemotherapy. This means it aims to control symptoms.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating laryngeal cancer section.

 

What chemotherapy is

Chemotherapy means anti cancer or cytotoxic drugs. These destroy cancer cells. They travel throughout the body and work by disrupting the growth of cancer cells. 

 

Chemotherapy for cancer of the larynx

Chemotherapy may be used to shrink a tumour before surgery or radiotherapy. It may be given alongside radiotherapy to make the radiotherapy more effective.

Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat cancer of the larynx that is advanced or has come back after treatment with radiotherapy. In this situation it can relieve symptoms and may slow the growth of your cancer.

 

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy together

You may have radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the same time if you have a T3 or T4 tumour. You may hear this called synchronous therapy or chemoradiation. You may go on to have surgery after this. But some people do not need any surgery as they have no sign of cancer afterwards. Your doctor may suggest that you have this type of treatment to try and cure your cancer instead of having your larynx removed. One advantage of treating larynx cancer with chemoradiation is that there is a chance you will still be able to speak afterwards.

If there is still a sign of any cancer after chemoradiation, you will need to have surgery to remove the tumour. Or if the cancer comes back later, you can have surgery to remove it then.

Chemoradiation is quite tough treatment to get through. You will have some tests to see if you are fit enough to cope with it. If not, you may be able to have surgery to remove the cancer and radiotherapy afterwards.

There is information about the side effects of chemoradiation on the next page of this section.

 

Chemotherapy before surgery

If you have an advanced cancer that has not spread to another organ, but can't be removed with surgery, you may have chemotherapy. This is to try to shrink the cancer so it can then be operated on. This type of treatment is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

 

Chemotherapy for advanced cancer

Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat cancer of the larynx that is advanced or has come back after treatment with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy can relieve symptoms and may slow the growth of your cancer. Your doctor may call this palliative chemotherapy. The aim of palliative treatment is to control symptoms.

 

Dietary or herbal supplements and chemotherapy

We don't yet know much scientifically about how some nutritional or herbal supplements may interact with chemotherapy. Some could be harmful. It is very important to let your doctors know if you take any supplements. Or if you are prescribed them by alternative or complementary therapy practitioners.

Talk to your specialist about any other tablets or medicines you take while you are having active treatment. There is information about the safety of herbal, vitamin and diet supplements in our complementary therapies section.

Some studies seem to suggest that fish oil preparations may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. If you are taking or thinking of taking these supplements talk to your doctor to find out whether they could affect your treatment.

 

More information about chemotherapy

For detailed information about chemotherapy, look at the main chemotherapy section. It explains the treatment in detail including

carboplatin - head and neck cancer

Rate this page:
Submit rating
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 21 July 2015