Health Check A-Z
Laryngeal (larynx) cancer
It's thought most laryngeal cancers can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Avoiding tobacco products, cutting down on how much alcohol you drink and having a healthy diet are particularly important in reducing your chances of developing the condition.
Avoiding tobacco products
Using tobacco products increases your chances of developing several different types of cancer, including laryngeal cancer.
Tobacco comes in many forms, including:
- pipe tobacco
- snuff (powdered tobacco snorted through the nose)
- chewing tobacco
If you smoke or use other tobacco products, stopping will have both short- and long-term health benefits, including significantly reducing your risk of developing laryngeal cancer.
If you decide to stop smoking, your GP will be able to refer you to an NHS stop smoking service, which can help you give up. You can also call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044. Specially trained helpline staff offer free expert advice and support.
If you want to stop smoking but don't want to be referred to a stop smoking service, your GP should be able to prescribe medical treatment to help with any withdrawal symptoms you may have.
Read more about stopping smoking.
Cutting down on alcohol
Staying within recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption will also reduce your risk of developing laryngeal and liver cancers. Recommended daily limits of alcohol are:
- 3-4 units of alcohol for men
- 2-3 units of alcohol for women
A unit of alcohol is equal to about half a pint of normal-strength lager or a pub measure (25ml) or spirits. Read more about alcohol units.
Studies have found your risk of developing laryngeal cancer reduces significantly within 5-10 years of not drinking, and after 20-30 years your risk is about the same as someone who has never drunk alcohol.
Contact your GP if you're finding it difficult to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. You may need additional treatment that could include counselling, group work or medication.
Research shows a diet that contains many fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly tomatoes, citrus fruit (such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons), olive oil and fish oil, can reduce your risk of getting laryngeal cancer. This type of diet is sometimes known as a Mediterranean-style diet.
Eating five portions a day of a variety of fruit and vegetables will also help prevent many types of cancer, including laryngeal cancer. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage are thought to provide the most protection against cancer.
Your diet should also be low in fat and high in starchy foods (carbohydrates) such as wholemeal bread, cereals and potatoes.