Throat cancer is a general term used to describe two different types of cancers – cancer of the throat (pharynx) and cancer of the voice box (larynx). Whilst cancers can develop at any time, there are certain things you can do to try and prevent throat cancer from developing – some of the tips below will also be helpful for preventing other types of cancers and looking after your health in general.
Smoking is one of the major causes of cancer and other health problems such as COPD, so it is important to quit smoking or try and cut down on your smoking habit. Smoke irritates the larynx and vocal cords and can dry out the throat. Tobacco smoke is one of the main causes of throat cancer – by quitting smoking or cutting down on smoking you can vastly decrease your chances of getting throat cancer. Secondhand smoke can also affect the throat, so try and stay away from smoke in general.
Cut down on alcohol consumption
Heavy alcohol use is a huge risk factor for many cancers, including throat cancer. Other health issues caused by heavy alcohol consumption include:
- Liver failure
So it is important to cut down on your alcohol use overall. Alcohol can make it easier for toxic chemicals from smoking to enter your mouth and throat, so combining smoking and excessive alcohol use can be a huge risk factor for throat cancer.
Protect yourself from HPV
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a dangerous virus that often causes cancer, including throat cancer. It can spread via sexual intercourse or by skin-to-skin contact and is very common. The rise in head and neck cancers has been caused by HPV-related cancers. The HPV vaccine can prevent you from catching HPV, so it is important to take the vaccine if possible. It is also recommended that you reduce the number of sexual partners you have and use contraception, which can also be helpful for preventing other health issues, such as sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia.
Eating healthy foods regularly such as fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer. Food and drink containing antioxidants (for example, green tea) has been shown to prevent the risk of cancer and can also stave off other health issues – having a healthy diet will make you feel better generally too.
Book a consultation with Mr. Wale Olarinde – Consultant Ear Nose & Throat Surgeon
If you are experiencing any issues with your throat or suspect you may have throat cancer, you should contact ENT Sheffield to book a consultation today.