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The 4 Major Causes Of Throat Cancer One Must Be Aware Of!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Arun Kumar Goel 86% (129 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FICS (Surgical Oncology), Fellowship of Association of Indian Surgeons(FAIS), Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery(FMAS) & Reproductive Medicine, Fellowship of Indian Association of Gastrointestinal Endo Surgeons (FIAGES)
Oncologist, Ghaziabad  •  34 years experience
The 4 Major Causes Of Throat Cancer One Must Be Aware Of!

Cancer is a disease characterized by abnormal multiplication of cells in a particular part of the body. After starting in one body part, cancer cells spread to other body parts and lead to the formation of tumours (metastases) in other parts of the body. Throat cancer refers to the development of tumours in the different parts of the throat. Various parts of the throat include oropharynx (tonsil, soft palate, base of tongue), nasopharynx (part behind the nose), hypopharynx and larynx (voice box). Throat cancers are a common type of cancer in India. The most common causes of throat cancer are - 

  1. Tobacco is the most important cause of throat cancer. Smoking in any form increases the risk of pharyngeal and laryngeal cancer greatly. Chewing tobacco can also increase the risk of pharyngeal cancers. No amount of tobacco exposure is safe. 
  2. Alcohol: Alcohol is an important contributor to risk of pharyngeal cancer. Alcohol intake multiplies the risk of cancer that is due to tobacco exposure. 
  3. Human Papilloma Virus: Human papilloma virus or HPV is famous as the cause of cancer of uterine cervix. However, in recent years it has been found to be an important cause of throat cancer. HPV infection is transmitted through sexual contact. 
  4. Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) infection: EBV infection is responsible cancer of the nasopharynx or part of pharynx behind the nasal cavity. 

The risk of throat cancer can be reduced by avoided tobacco and alcohol. HPV infection can be avoided through safe sexual practices. These practices can prevent large majority of throat cancers. Other that prevention, timely testing for early diagnosis and immediate treatment when cancer is diagnosed will lead to successful outcomes.

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