Throat cancer, also known as pharyngeal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the pharynx, which is a hollow tube that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe). The main causes of throat cancer include the following.
1. Tobacco use
The use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff, is the leading cause of throat cancer. These products contain harmful chemicals that can damage the DNA in the cells lining the throat, increasing the risk of cancer.
2. Alcohol consumption
Heavy alcohol consumption has also been linked to an increased risk of throat cancer. Alcohol can irritate the cells in the throat and damage the DNA, increasing the risk of cancer.
3. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Some types of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection, can cause changes in the cells of the throat that can lead to cancer. HPV infection is a leading cause of throat cancer in young, non-smoking individuals.
4. Poor oral hygiene.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which can increase the risk of throat cancer.
5. Exposure to certain chemicals
Exposure to certain chemicals, such as wood dust and certain types of paints and solvents, can increase the risk of throat cancer.
Note that some people may be at higher risk of developing throat cancer due to a combination of these factors. For example, a person who smokes drinks heavily, and has poor oral hygiene may be at a higher risk of throat cancer than someone who only has one of these risk factors.