Glossary

A

Anesthesia: Loss of sensation or feeling.

Anesthetics:  Medication to produce a loss of sensation or feeling.

Anesthesiologist: A medical doctor that administers anesthesia.

C

Cancer: Abnormal cells that multiply without control. They can spread through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the lining or covering of an organ.

Cartilage: Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints.

Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs used to treat cancer.

Clinical Trials: Studies of new cancer treatments. Results from clinical trials determine future cancer treatments.

E

Electrolarynx: A battery operated instrument that makes a humming sound to help laryngectomees talk.

Epiglottis: The flap that covers the trachea during swallowing so that food does not enter the lungs.

Esophageal Speech: Speech produced with air trapped in the esophagus and forced out again.

Esophagus: The tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

G

Glottis: The middle part of the larynx where the vocal cords are located.

H

Humidifier: A machine that puts moisture in the air.

L

Laryngectomee: A person who has their voice box removed.

Laryngectomy: An operation to remove all or part of the larynx.

Larynx: An organ in the throat used in breathing, swallowing, and talking. It is made of cartilage and muscle and is lined by a mucous membrane similar to the lining of the mouth. It is also called the voicebox. The larynx has three parts: the supraglottis, the glottis, and the subglottis.

Lymph Nodes: Small, bean-shaped organs located along the lymphatic system. Nodes filter bacteria or cancer cells from the lymph fluid.

M

Malignant: Cancer that has the ability to spread to other parts of the body.

Metastasis: Cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body. These cells have the same appearance or characteristics of original tumor or mass.

N

Neck Breather: A term used for a person who has had a laryngectomy. The laryngectomee breathes from the neck because the trachea is diverted from the mouth and nose to the neck.

O

Obturator: A device with a curved tip used in the insertion, or reinsertion, of a laryngectomy or tracheostomy tube.

Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer.

Otolaryngologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment of diseases of the ear, nose and throat. Also known as an ENT or Head and Neck surgeon.

P

Pathologist: A doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

Pneumatic Larynx: A device that uses air to produce sound to help a laryngectomee talk.

Prognosis: The probable outcome or course of a disease; the chance of recovery.

R

Radiation Therapy: Treatment of cancer cells with high energy beams from x-rays or other sources to kill these cells.

Remission: Disappearance of the sign and symptoms of cancer; can be temporary or permanent.

Risk Factors: Something that increases a person’s chance of getting a particular type of cancer.

S

Speech Pathologist: A specialist who evaluates and treats people with communication and swallowing problems.

Staging: Doing exams and tests to learn the extent of the cancer; whether it has spread to any other areas of the body.

Stoma: The opening into the windpipe made by the surgeon. Laryngectomees breathe through this opening.

Subglottis: The lowest part of the larynx, just below the vocal cords down to the top of the trachea.

Supraglottis: The upper part of the larynx, above the vocal cords; including the epiglottis.

Systemic Therapy: Therapy that reaches and affects cells all over the body.

T

Trachea: The airway that connects the larynx to the lungs; the windpipe.

Tracheoesophageal Puncture: A small opening made by the surgeon, between the esophagus and the trachea. A valve keeps food out of the trachea but lets air into the esophagus for esophageal speech.

Tracheostomy: Surgery to create an opening in the windpipe.

Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue.

V

Vocal Cords: Two small bands of muscle within the larynx that closes to prevent food from getting into the lungs and they vibrate to produce voice.

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