Throat Cancer: Symptoms, Consequences and Prevention

Throat cancer is a malignant disease that can affect the larynx, vocal cords or other areas of the throat. The larynx is the second place in the upper gastrointestinal air tract that is prone to cancer after oral cavity. The most common larynx cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (95% of all cases). To know more about this disease, below you can read more about throat cancer symptoms, consequences and prevention.
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Who are most prone to this type of cancer?
It occurs most common to people between 50 and 70 years, but now it increasingly appears in early ages. Men suffer four times more frequent than women, although there is an increase of this disease in women in recent years, probably related to the increased consumption of cigarette and alcohol.

What are the main causes of throat cancer?
We are talking about the risk factors. A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be avoided. While others, such as the person's age or family history, can not be avoided.

Often, cancers of the larynx or throat are classified together with other cancers of the mouth and throat. These cancers have many of the same risk factors, some of which are:

• Being a smoker
• Underage drinking
• Having a poor diet
• Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in men
• Exposure to pollutants or toxic (dust, paint fumes, asbestos, some chemicals)

What are the main symptoms suffered by a person with throat cancer?
Often times, laryngeal cancers that happen to the vocal cords make the person’s voice sound hoarsen; this helps these cancers to be found in very early stages.

Meanwhile, for cancers that don’t form on the vocal cords, this change of voice doesn’t happen until after they reach a later stage or have spread to the vocal cords.

Cancers that begin in the area of ​​the larynx above the vocal cords (supraglottic), below the vocal cords (subglottic) or hypopharynx usually do not cause voice changes, and therefore are usually identified in later stages.

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Here are several symptoms of these cancers:
• Persistent cough.
• A sore throat that lingers.
• Difficult breathing.
• Painful swallowing.
• Problems whe swallowing food
• Earache
• Weight loss.
• A lump in the neck (because the cancer spreads to lymph nodes).

How can we avoid?
You can not prevent all cases of laryngeal or throat cancer, but the risk of these cancers can be significantly reduced by avoiding certain risk factors, like smoking or drinking alcohol.

Smoking is the major cause of these cancers. Avoiding exposure to tobacco (by not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke) reduces the risk of these cancers. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor alone. So, it is especially important to avoid the combination of drinking and smoking.

For people who work with chemicals associated with these cancers, it is important to take preventive measures, such as good ventilation in the workplace and the use of industrial filters. On the other hand, poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies have been linked to laryngeal cancer.

Adopting a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent these cancers (and many others). The American Cancer Society recommends eating healthy foods, emphasizing on plant sources.

How can you treat this type of cancer?
Depending on the stage of cancer and the patient's condition, these treatment options can be used alone or in combination:

• Surgery.
• Radiotherapy.
• Chemotherapy.

Are there specific environments where it is more likely to develop the disease?
Yes, throat cancer symptoms may be found especially in smokers, alcohol drinkers or people who are exposed to toxic substances at work. In addition, oral exposure to human papillomavirus can also be the cause. For example an oral sex with a woman is infected with this virus in the vaginal canal or the cervix.