The increasing incidence of throat cancer among the population is not a hidden fact now. There is a significant disparity in some population groups, with higher rates of this disease in men as compared to women.
- Throat cancer rates have increased by 15% from past 30 years.
- Throat cancer rates are higher for the Asian and African population than for American population.
- Throat cancer rates increase with age. The increase becomes more rapid after the age of 50 and at peak between ages 60 and 70.
- Throat cancer is the most common cancer at the global level with every 8 cases diagnosed out of top 20 cancer cases.
What is Throat cancer?
The most common symptoms of throat cancer or oropharyngeal cancer are sore in the mouth that does not heal or mouth pain that doesn’t go away. Historically, this type of cancer has been strongly linked with tobacco and alcohol use, but in recent years, some of these cancers have been linked to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection.
How is throat cancer different from oral cancer?
Though these two words sound resembling in a way, it is mainly the location of this problem which differentiates these two cancers. It develops in the part of the throat just behind the mouth and is sometimes simply called throat cancer. It includes cancers of the back third of the tongue, the back part of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, and the side and back wall of the throat. Whereas oral cancer impacts mostly at the former part of the mouth, specifically affecting lips, jaws, tooth, tongue or upper or lower jaws.
Which factors are responsible for causing throat cancer actually?
The risk of developing a throat cancer can be due to many factors like:
- Smoking or using tobacco (oral consumption of its leaves)
- Drinking alcohol
- Having a diet low in vegetables and fruits
- If you are 40 years or over.
- Exposure to asbestos.
- Poor dental hygiene.
- Exposure to HPV, which can be transmitted through oral sex.
NOTE: If any of these risk factors is applicable to you, it does not mean that you will develop mouth and throat cancer, it simply means that your risk may be higher than the average, it is a note of caution.
What are the symptoms of throat cancer?
- hoarseness in your voice
- trouble in swallowing
- weight loss
- sore throat
- persistent cough
- swollen neck
- ear pain
Some symptoms of throat cancer are actually specific to certain areas of the body. Like changes in your voice may be a sign of laryngeal cancer, but would rarely indicate cancer of the pharynx.
Why is throat cancer prevention needed?
The risk of developing throat cancer depends on a number of factors and varies from person to person. The good point to know here is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Those set of people who eat paan or betel nut as it is a fashion among South Asian people are those at greater risk.
What are the suggested ways to reduce the chance of developing throat cancer?
1Take care of your mouth-hygiene
As per this suggestion, you need to brush your teeth regularly and clean tongue with a tongue- cleaner which is rust free. It is highly recommended to follow this cleaning method two times a day i.e. in the morning time and just before going to bed. You can also care by using mouth wash as available these days as it is less time consuming and easy to use. So after you make your next visit to the dentist and have all the plaque scraped from your pearly whites, mouthwash can help prevent it from reforming.
Special tip: You can use certain kinds of mouthwash like Listerine Agent, Cool Blue, Tinting Rinse and target to remove plaque. Any area with a large amount of plaque will light up with color so you can concentrate your brushing and cleaning efforts there.
2Cut down on alcohol
Are you a regular consumer of alcohol or an occasional? Alcohol consumption can be a fashion symbol or a need, but the small amount has good impacts on the other hand habituated can lead to many health issues including throat cancer. The presence of extracts of enzymes while its preparation can be really dangerous for the tissue lining of the whole mouth like tooth- plaque, tongue, soft gums and salivary glands. These enzymes lead to the synthesis of plaque formation along with the food particles hidden or settled around the tooth.
Special tip: If you are a chain drinker, then you should regularly visit an expert or a doctor and take the suggestion for your health care and ways to limit drinking habit. Also, HPV can be lethal, so visiting a physician will take care of your well-being.
3Limit the usage of tobacco.
It has always been said that eating tobacco is very dangerous for your health including heart, lungs, blood pressure and even the most dreadful for the mouth. The well-known chemical contained in tobacco is nicotine and it has a burning effect on the tissues lining the mouth which leads to the development of sores and ultimately throat and mouth cancer.
Special tip: If you ever feel like the food does not taste you much and you come across with problems like bleeding gums or never healing mouth sores, then it is the right indication of a susceptible risk of mouth cancer. Refer a doctor soon.
4Do not smoke.
If you ever think that you are following all these suggestions and are really aware of how to take care of your health and remain disease free, while you continue to smoke, then you are not in the right path indeed. Firstly, smoking weakens your respiratory system very fast as a slow poison and secondly, it makes your throat and mouth susceptible to the attack of bacteria and viruses and easy build-up of a cough that becomes a cause of throat cancer.
Special tip: Do not become addicted to smoking as it is injurious to your health and if you adapted to early smoking then you need to purify your lungs by regular intake of tulsi leaves, mint and honey. It will assist to re-establish the strength of your respiratory system, but remember to quit smoking when following this. Control over smoking and taking fresh cucumber are best tips to fight against the attack of oral cancers of kinds.
5Controlled food habits including fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.
There are many fruits and vegetables, when eaten raw, decreases the chances of any type of cancers including throat cancer. These include garlic, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and many more. Even nuts are beneficial in reducing the chances of cancer.
Special tip: You should aim for at least five portions of a variety of different types of fruits and vegetables each day.
Scientists estimate now that by not smoking or drinking alcohol, and by choosing a healthy diet, more than 2 in 3 cases of mouth and throat cancer could be prevented. Check all your cosmetics and medicines carefully to make sure that none of them contain formaldehyde. Shower gels and other products commonly contain it, so go green and buy environment friendly products that don’t contain this.