Health Encyclopedia


Health Encyclopedia Home

Tests That Help Find Laryngeal Cancer

Tests That Help Find Laryngeal Cancer

There are 2 main tests your doctor may perform if he or she suspects you have laryngeal cancer:

  • Indirect laryngoscopy. Using a small mirror with a long handle, the doctor looks down your throat. This lets him or her check to see whether your vocal cords move normally. The exam is painless. Still, your doctor may spray a local anesthetic on your throat to keep you from gagging. You may have this test in the doctor’s office.

  • Direct laryngoscopy. This test is done by an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) or a head and neck surgeon. The doctor inserts a lighted tube called a laryngoscope through your nose or mouth. This lets the doctor see areas that cannot be seen with a simple mirror. You get a local anesthetic to ease discomfort or a mild sedative to help you relax. You may have this test in the doctor’s office, an outpatient clinic, or a hospital. Sometimes, the doctor decides to perform this test in the operating room, using a general anesthetic to put you to sleep during the test.

When you need a biopsy

If the doctor finds abnormal areas of tissue, you’ll need a biopsy. The biopsy shows if there is cancer in your larynx. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a piece of tissue while you are under local or general anesthetic. A pathologist then looks at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer.

If cancer exists, the pathologist can usually tell what type it is. Almost all cancer cells of the larynx are squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cell cancer begins in the cells that line the epiglottis, vocal cords, and other parts of the larynx.


Related Items
Content Type 135
  Combination Therapy for Laryngeal Cancer
Cancer Source
  Statistics for Laryngeal Cancer
  Am I At Risk for Laryngeal Cancer?
  What Are the Symptoms of Laryngeal Cancer?
  Targeted Therapy for Laryngeal Cancer
  Understanding the Stages of Laryngeal Cancer
  Surgery for Laryngeal Cancer
  What to Know About Radiation for Laryngeal Cancer
  What to Know About Chemotherapy for Laryngeal Cancer
  Do What You Can to Ease Side Effects of Treatment for Laryngeal Cancer
  Learning to Speak Again After Laryngeal Surgery
  Tests You May Need to Evaluate Laryngeal Cancer
  I've Just Been Told I Have Laryngeal Cancer
  What Are the 5-Year Survival Rates for Laryngeal Cancer?
  What Can I Do if I'm At Risk for Laryngeal Cancer?
  Types of Treatment for Laryngeal Cancer
  What to Expect After Surgery for Laryngeal Cancer
  Potential Side Effects of Chemotherapy for Laryngeal Cancer
Cancer FAQs
  Frequently Asked Questions About Laryngeal Cancer
Daily News Feed
  Eating, Swallowing Exercises May Aid Throat Cancer Patients
  Surgery With Follow-Up Radiation Best for Tongue Cancer: Study
  Anti-Seizure Drug May Guard Against Some Cancers
  No Drop in Smokeless Tobacco Use Among U.S. Workers: CDC
Adult Diseases and Conditions
  Laryngeal Cancer (Cancer of the Larynx)