T stage 1 and 2 cancer of the larynx

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and how far it has spread. It helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.

T stage 1 and T stage 2  are also called early stage laryngeal cancer. 

Doctors use the ‘T’ part of the TNM system to stage cancer of the larynx. They call this the T stage. The T stage refers to how far your cancer has spread within the larynx and surrounding tissue.

The exact T staging of laryngeal cancer varies. It depends on which part of your larynx the cancer started in. Cancer can start:

  • above the vocal cords (supraglottis)
  • on the vocal cords (glottis)
  • below the vocal cords (subglottis) - this is rare

T stage 1

T stage 1 means both of the folllowing:

  • the tumour is only in one part of the larynx
  • the vocal cords are able to move normally

T stage 2

T stage 2 means the cancer has grown into another part of the larynx. It may have started on the vocal cords (glottis), above the vocal cords (supraglottis) or below the vocal cords (subglottis)


The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
  • where the cancer is
  • other health conditions that you have

Treatment might include:

  • surgery using a laser to remove the cancer through your mouth (trans-oral laser surgery)
  • surgery to remove part of your voice box (a partial laryngectomy)
  • radiotherapy

If your cancer is above your vocal cords (supraglottis), your surgeon will try their best to protect the vocal cords.

If your doctor thinks there is any risk of the cancer coming back, they might offer you radiotherapy after surgery.

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