There are numerous throat cancer causes and risk factors associated with throat cancer. Several clinical studies have proven some of them; however, there are still some that lack sufficient research.

What Are The Causes Of Throat Cancer?

Like other types of cancer, the leading cause of throat cancer is unknown. Nevertheless, some risk factors have a connection with throat cancers causes. There can also be changes in the body, especially the throat lining, that some experts believe to be pre-cancerous. These causes include:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): GERD is a condition in which the stomach contents leak backward from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn and other symptoms.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): The HPV is a group of over 150 types of viruses. Furthermore, the name papillomavirus came from how they can cause a type of growth known as papilloma or wart. This virus can often transfer via oral sex, vaginal and anal intercourse. It can also transfer from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. However, a tiny percentage of HPV types cause throat cancer.

What Are Throat Cancer Risk Factors?

There are several risk factors, some of these are discussed here:

Use Of Tobacco And Alcohol: Both passive and active smokers have increased the risk of throat cancer. Smoking tobacco is the number one risk factor for both head and neck related cancers. This includes cancers of the larynx and hypopharynx.

Smokers are at a greater danger of developing throat cancer than non-smokers, and this has contributed to a higher percentage of diagnoses of the disease in people with a history of smoking. Those who drink alcohol and also smoke the greatest risk of suffering throat cancer. (1)

Genetic Syndromes: People with syndromes caused by mutations in individual genes have increased the risk of developing throat cancer. Their symptoms may include:

  • Fanconi anemia: This can be due to mutations the patient inherited in several genes. It can lead to a condition known as leukemia or aplastic anemia.
  • Dyskeratosis congenital: This syndrome can also cause aplastic anemia, disfigurement of the fingernails and toenails, and skin rashes. (2)

Age Of A Person: Throat cancer is more common in older people than in younger people because it develops gradually taking years before it begins to show its symptoms.

A Person’s Gender: Throat cancers are about four times more common in men than in women. This is due to the highest number of men smokers than women smokers.

Exposure To Chemicals: Long time exposure to certain chemicals used in industries can also increase the risk of throat cancer. Exposure to asbestos is also an important risk factor for throat cancer.


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American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2017, from