Total laryngectomy or laryngeal preservation for advanced laryngeal cancer. Impact of the functional risk upon the patient's preferences

Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2014 Apr;131(2):93-7. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2013.06.001. Epub 2014 Feb 12.


Objective: To analyse, based on an anonymous questionnaire, the treatment decision envisaged and the impact of the medical information delivered in patients facing the diagnosis of an advanced laryngeal cancer amenable to total laryngectomy or a laryngeal preservation protocol.

Material and methods: Prospective study conducted in a French teaching hospital based on questionnaires filled in by 269 patients attending the otorhinolaryngology clinic.

Results: A total of 28.6% of patients would not consider any trade-off of cure to preserve their larynx; 1.4% of patients were willing to trade all chances of cure in order to avoid total laryngectomy. The median percentage of cure that patients were ready to loose in order to preserve their larynx was 33% (range: 5 to 100%); 47.9% of patients wanted to receive additional information before making their decision with a significant increase among patients with a level of education beyond secondary school (P=0.0006) and among patients with a family history of cancer (P=0.038). The additional information most frequently requested concerned the complications related to the laryngeal preservation protocol (34.1%) and the cure rate (28.6%). After receiving information about the risk of tracheostomy and permanent gastrostomy following the laryngeal preservation protocol, the percentage of subjects who would not consider any trade-off in order to preserve their larynx increased to 31.2% and 56.1%, respectively.

Conclusion: Laryngeal preservation is not a major objective of treatment shared by patients filling a questionnaire devoted to the choice of treatment when facing an advanced laryngeal cancer. Specific information concerning the expected results and the inherent risks involved in the various treatment options must be provided in every case.

Keywords: Cancer; Information; Laryngeal preservation; Larynx.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Laryngectomy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Organ Sparing Treatments*
  • Patient Preference*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult