Throat cancer (including the pharyngeal and the laryngeal cancers) can affect anyone. Major risk factors include smoking/ chewing tobacco, alcohol use and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Learn more about the risk factors for throat cancer.
- Tobacco: Tobacco use includes both smoking and smokeless tobacco (snuff and chewing tobacco). People who are exposed to passive smoking are also at a greater risk for throat cancer. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you can reduce your risk of throat cancer by stopping it.
- Alcohol: Alcohol consumption is another major risk factor for throat cancer. It increases the carcinogenic effects of tobacco.
- Betel quid and gutka: People who chew betel quid or gutka, have an increased risk of throat cancer.
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus): HPV is the fastest-growing head and neck cancer cause recently. The strains most commonly linked to head and neck cancer are HPV 16 and, less commonly, HPV 18.
Other Throat Cancer Risk Factors
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- A diet high in salt-cured fish and meat
- Exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus