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July 3, 1972

Surgical Management

JAMA. 1972;221(1):77-79. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200140061021

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Cancers of the hypopharynx and larynx are unique. These tumors produce symptoms early and the area of tumor involvement can usually be visualized at the initial examination. The dilemma arises because the symptoms produced by cancer are similar to those produced by benign conditions. As a result, patients harboring cancer of the larynx and hypopharynx are frequently treated for benign conditions, thereby delaying the correct diagnosis. In order to detect cancer of the larynx and hypopharynx early, an adequate examination is essential; this should include indirect laryngoscopy. Similar to cancer elsewhere, tumors that are diagnosed early result in an improved cure rate. A high index of suspicion by the initial examining physician will assure early detection and decrease delay before treatment of the tumor begins.

Laryngeal Cancers.—  Hoarseness is the primary symptom of laryngeal cancers. A neoplasm should be suspected in any patient who experiences hoarseness for longer than four