Throat cancer risk factors are well defined. The first of these: tobacco, responsible for more than 80% of cases. Another trigger is alcohol. Men who drink more than three cups a day, and women who drink more than two have a higher risk of developing cancer of the “upper gastrointestinal tract.” Moreover, both tobacco and alcohol enhance their harmful effects.
But let’s not forget the human papillomavirus (HPV) – transmitted by contact with the skin or mucous membranes between two people – the origin of more than 3,000 new cases of throat cancer in France each year.
Finally, there may be certain occupational exposures (wood dust, asbestos, nickel, strong acids).
Signs should alert
Do you know the “1 for 3” rule? Symptoms such as sore throat, dysphagia (ie difficulty swallowing), hoarseness, lymph nodes in the neck, etc. should alert: If you have had one of these symptoms for more than 3 weeks, a medical notification is required. Therefore, endoscopy of the GI tract with biopsies may or may not confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment depends on the location of the tumor and the extent of its extension. It could be surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
As you understand, throat cancer belongs to that type of cancer, which is called “preventable”. Prevention includes smoking cessation, moderate alcohol consumption, and vaccination against HPV.