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Prognosis of laryngeal cancer

Laryngeal cancer is the cancer of the head/neck region with the best prognosis, independent of localization and extent.

In 2014, there were an estimated 99,914 people living with larynx cancer in the United States. The earlier larynx cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. 55.3% are diagnosed at the local stage and the 5-year survival for localized larynx cancer is 76.3%. The number of larynx cancer deaths is highest among people aged 65-74. Death rates have been falling on average 2.3% each year over 2005-2014 (1).

Patients with early stages (T1–T2, N0) of squamous epithelial carcinomas in the larynx have a very good prognosis (11). Laser treatment (T1a) is today performed as day surgery. Long-term survival is reduced with locally advanced disease (T3–T4), and when there are lymph node metastases on the neck. If there is spreading to lymph nodes on the neck, the disease-specific survival is halved compared to the same T stage without spreading. Increasing N category gives an increasing risk for distant metastases (13). Compared with other localization in the head/neck area, patients treated for laryngeal cancer have the best quality of life (14).

Around 5% of patients develop distant metastases later in the disease course. Autopsy material shows a higher frequency (2).

Confirmed distant metastasis at present usually eliminates curative treatment. The prognosis with locoregional recurrence is about 20% survival after 5 years (6).



Five-year relative survival for patients with laryngeal cancer, in percent, during the diagnosis period 1979–2013 (statistical material for the period 1974-1978 are missing).

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway


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