What causes throat cancer?


Quick Answer

It is not clear what exactly causes the mutations in the throat that lead to throat cancer, according to Mayo Clinic. Factors such as tobacco use, the human papillomavirus, excessive alcohol use and a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of developing throat cancer.

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Full Answer

Exposure to asbestos, a vitamin A deficiency and poor dental hygiene can also increase the risk of throat cancer, according to Healthline. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can increase throat cancer risk because acid leaks from the stomach into the esophagus, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The Epstein-Barr virus is a common virus transmitted through saliva and contracting EBV increases the chances of developing throat cancer. Research suggests that HPV infection is the reason for rising rates of throat cancer, especially oropharyngeal cancer, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Men are 10 times more likely than women to develop throat cancers, and most throat cancers develop in people aged 50 or older, MedlinePlus states. Although throat cancer is somewhat uncommon, other cancers such as lung, bladder and esophageal cancer have been linked to throat cancer because they typically have similar risk factors or because the cancer starts in one area of the body and eventually spreads, notes Healthline.

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