Risk Factors for Throat Cancer
Throat cancer is the cancer of the throat; it is a type of head and neck cancer. The throat (pharynx) is a 5-inch-long tube that runs from your nose to your neck. The throat and the voice box are the two main places throat cancer forms. But how do you get throat cancer? Dr Anil Heroor, Oncologist, Fortis Hospitals, Mulund answers this query.
Tobacco Products: Incidence of laryngeal tumors ( a common type of throat cancer) is closely correlated with smoking, as head and neck tumors occur 6 times more often among cigarette smokers than among nonsmokers. The use of unfiltered cigarettes or dark, air-cured tobacco is associated with further increases in risk. According to cancertrialshelp.org, in 2009, an estimated 12,290 adults (9,920 men and 2,370 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. It is estimated that 3,660 deaths (2,900 men and 760 women) from this disease will occur this year.
Any form of smoking is linked to Throat Cancer – cigars, cigarettes, beedis, and pipes. Not only throat but tobacco can cause cancers of other parts of the body too, like lungs, bladders etc.Smokeless or chewing tobacco is linked with cancers of the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips.
Occupational exposures: A handful of studies suggest that asbestos and synthetic fibers used in many industries can cause throat cancer of the larynx.
Human Papilloma Virus : Infection with the sexually transmitted disease HPV virus 16 (human papilloma virus) may also increase the risk of developing throat cancer. HPV related cancers are most common in the tonsils or back of tongue.
Chronic Gastric Reflux:When acid leaks from the stomach into the esophagus, it causes gastric reflux. Chronic Gastric reflux is called GERD, and increases throat cancer risk.
Prior history of head and neck irradiation
Alcohol Consumption: Almost one third of patients who have throat cancer drinks alcohol frequently. The chances of getting throat cancer increases with excessive usage of alcohol. According to a experts alcohol worsens a smoker's throat tissues, increasing his/her risk for throat cancer.
Over exposure to harmful chemicals
Poor oral hygiene
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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