Scientific letters

Laryngeal Carcinoma - Patient Profile and Delay in Referral

Gabriel du Toit de Villiers, Riaz Yakoob Seedat, Andre Jacobus Claassen, Gina Joubert


Aim: The aim of this study was to compile a profile of patients with laryngeal carcinoma presenting to the ENT clinic at Universitas Hospital, Bloemfontein.

Methods: Fifty consecutive patients with laryngeal carcinoma were prospectively interviewed and information regarding their symptoms, social habits and delay in referral was recorded. Staging was performed in the operating theatre.

Results: Hoarseness was the most common symptom (98%). Sixty-four percent of patients presented with airway obstruction and 26% had a visible neck mass. The median patient delay was 1.5 months, while the median professional delay was 5 months. The median total delay was 7 months. Glottic and supraglottic tumours were the most common at 36% and 34% respectively. Eighty percent of patients were either stage 3 or 4, while only 20% were classified as early cancers (stage 1 and 2).

Conclusion: In this study the majority of patients presented with advanced tumours. Both patients and medical professionals did not seem to realize the significance of unrelenting hoarseness as a possible symptom of laryngeal cancer. We propose the initiation of an awareness campaign to address this problem.

Authors' affiliations

Gabriel du Toit de Villiers, Universitas Hospital and University of the Free State

Riaz Yakoob Seedat, Universitas Hospital and University of the Free State

Andre Jacobus Claassen, Universitas Hospital and University of the Free State

Gina Joubert, Universitas Hospital and University of the Free State

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Larynx carcinoma; Demography

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2007;97(12):1274.

Article History

Date submitted: 2007-06-25
Date published: 2007-12-18

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