Voice outcomes for early laryngeal cancer

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Treatment options for early laryngeal cancer are well established with good local control and 5-year survival. The commonest treatments are radiotherapy or transoral laser microsurgery (TLM). There are advantages and disadvantages of the different modalities, but debate continues regarding the voice outcomes posttreatment. This review will focus on early glottic carcinoma and voice outcomes following the different treatments.

Recent findings

TLM and radiotherapy are both likely to affect voice quality, but the extent of voice change depends on different factors. These factors can be divided into patient, tumour and treatment factors. Recent meta-analyses data show similar voice outcomes for either modality in the treatment of early glottic carcinoma. However, larger tumours and those involving the anterior commissure are associated with worse voice outcomes.

Summary

There are various considerations for the patient and clinician before deciding on the preferred treatment for early glottic carcinoma. Although both TLM and radiotherapy will affect voice outcomes, the recent meta-analyses show similar voice outcomes for either modality in the treatment of early glottic carcinoma. There are numerous variables in the published studies hindering direct comparisons. These include heterogeneous patient groups, different treatment standardization and methods of voice analysis.

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