Throat cancer refers to cancer of the voice box, the vocal cords, and other parts of the throat, such as the tonsils. Throat cancer is relatively uncommon when compared to other cancers. The National Cancer Institute estimates less than 2 percent of adults will be diagnosed with a form of throat cancer in their lifetime. Men are two to three times more likely than women to develop throat cancer in their lifetime. As with many cancers, the risk of developing throat cancer increases with age, with most people being over the age of 65.
Risk factors for throat cancer differ depending on where cancer grows in the throat. It’s important to keep in mind that lifestyle choices can affect your risk of developing throat cancer.
Risk factors could include but are not limited to:
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
- The use of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.
- Having GERD may increase the risk of throat cancer depending on the frequency and severity of the acid reflux.
- Excessive alcohol use.
- HPV Infection, also known as the Human papillomavirus infection, has been found to be responsible for the rising rates of throat cancer, in particular, oropharyngeal cancer.
- Contracting the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) increases the likelihood of developing throat cancer.
Unfortunately, signs of throat cancer may be difficult to identify in the early stages of the disease. Many symptoms associated with throat cancer are the same as a cold or a sore throat.
Throat cancer symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia
- Changes in your voice
- Sore throat
- Chronic cough
- Ear pain
- Voice changes
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Unexplainable weight loss
- Swelling of the eyes, jaw, throat or neck
- Bleeding in the mouth or through the nose
Make a doctor’s appointment if you experience any of these symptoms and they do not improve for a duration exceeding two to three weeks.
Fort Worth Otolaryngologist Dr. Marc Dean is a Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and practicing full time in private practice. Dr. Dean specializes Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and conditions and diseases of the ear, sinus, and disorders of the eustachian tube. Dr. Dean completed an Internship, in General Surgery and his Residency at Louisiana State University Health Science Center, where he now serves as Assistant Professor Otolaryngology/HNS. Dr. Dean is currently President and CEO of the Otorhinologic Research Institute. Contact Dr. Dean today on his profile or call 817-332-4060. Dr. Marc Dean was named Top10MD 2015 | 2016. Only 1 in 3 doctors succeed with this recognition in the United States.