Throat cancer

Throat cancer is a type of cancer that refers to tumors which will develop either in your throat or your larynx (voice box). Most people do not realize that their throat actually begins behind their nasal cavity and continues into their neck, where the larynx sits. The throat is a muscle, and the larynx is an area that consists of cartilage and vocal chords. All of these are susceptible to throat cancer, including the epiglottis, which is essentially a small piece of cartilage that serves as a type of covering for your windpipe. Each year almost twenty five thousand people in the United States are diagnosed with throat cancer, and the instances of occurrence of the tumors are split evenly between the throat and the larynx.

A lot of times people confuse the symptoms of throat cancer with those of a common cold, the only main exception is that if the problems are the result of cancer the symptoms will persist for months at a time, while a cold should disappear within a week or two. For example, some of the symptoms of throat cancer are:

  • Coughing
  • Problems swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps in your throat that don’t go away
  • Ear pain
  • Loss of voice
  • Soreness in your throat

There are some problems that can also be related to these symptoms, so your doctor will likely run a series of tests; however, if you are really worried then you should take the time to mention throat cancer to your doctor and discuss the possibilities of the situation so that you can be sure that they are taking it all into account.

It is not clear what causes throat cancer. All that doctors know is that there are genetic mutations that cause cells that are in your throat to grow and change uncontrollably, and these cells will eventually overtake the healthy cells that are also in your throat. The result is that eventually the mutated cells will collected and form tumors. There are different types of throat cancer, such as nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal, glottis, supraglottic, and subglottic. Each of these is classified differently because they can start in various areas of the throat and larynx and they can have result in a variety of progressions that affect people in different ways.

While there is no clear cause of throat cancer there are things that you can do to make sure that you lessen your risk of developing the disease. These include cutting back on all forms of tobacco use, cutting out the excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, going to your dentist regularly and taking good care of your teeth and gums, eating more fruits and vegetables, and reducing any exposure to asbestos that you might have. Another risk factor that can attribute to the development of throat cancer is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

If you are concerned about the development of throat cancer and you want to try and decrease your risk you can cover these risk factors to try and cut back on your potential to develop throat cancer. Although there is no guarantees this is something that you can do just to try and be sure that you are as healthy as possible so that you can avoid getting throat cancer. What some people may not realize is that they may be genetically predisposed to getting throat cancer, but it may not ever trigger in them unless they do something that is a risk factor, then their body might go ahead and have problems with the mutating cells that will eventually lead to throat cancer.

Last updated on Aug 29th, 2009 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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