The Link Between HPV and Throat Cancer

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Introduction

Big C – the word rings a bell of terror, isn’t it? Luckily, the dreadful disease is much treatable if diagnosed early. Almost everyone has a vague idea of what cancer is all about. An abnormal growth of cells in the body that multiply and divide involuntarily. Consequence? Formation of repulsive growths, also known as tumors that are highly malignant. To our surprise, there are more than 100 different types of cancer in the world today. In fact, the count is on a rising spree. From much-known leukemia and cervical cancer to the lesser known melanoma and throat cancer, every part of a human body can be a target of malignancy. It is therefore imperative to spread awareness about cancer. Appropriate diagnosis will help nip in the bud and treat cancer right at its onset.

Narrowing down our search, let’s throw some limelight on the very uncommon but highly critical condition of throat cancer. It obviously refers to the growth of malignant tumors in your throat (pharynx), tonsils and in the voice box, also known as larynx.

Throat Cancer – Here’s Sharing the Nitty Gritty

Little did you know that a human throat is a simple muscular tube starting from behind your nose and extending till right down your neck. The voice box is fitted right beneath the throat and is hence impressionable to the much grisly Big C. Obviously, the larynx is a dwelling house of cartilage and vocal cords. The epiglottis or cartilage also functions as a lid for the windpipe. Last but not the least, right behind the throat are the tonsils. When tumors pop up in any of the above-mentioned areas, it does spread out and cast an ugly spell on the adjoining parts. For example, the tonsils are undoubtedly prone to be affected if the larynx has been detected to be malignant.

Although throat cancer is rarely heard of in comparison to the other forms of cancer, being versed about different forms of throat cancer is of much importance.

Quick Look at the Types of Throat Cancer:

Primarily, there are two major forms of throat cancer.

  1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma This is the condition wherein flat cells shoot up in the lining of the throat.
  2. Adenocarcinoma – When there is a rapid amplification of cells within the glands, the larynx, for instance, the condition is termed as ‘Adenocarcinoma’.

Speaking of glands, throat cancer is further subdivided. When the voice box is targeted, it is known as laryngeal cancer. On the contrary, when abnormalities of cell growth are witnessed in areas of throat and neck, it is reckoned as pharyngeal cancer. Based on the area where cancer is spotted, specific names have been given.

  • When malignancy shows up in the bottom of the throat, it is known as hypopharynx cancer.
  • When the targeted area is the beginning or upper part of the throat, it is known as nasopharynx cancer.
  • Oropharynx cancer is the name given when the middle of the throat is affected.

Cancer cells can pop up in the vocal cords too. This condition has been termed as glottic cancer. If these abnormal cells are spotted in and around the epiglottis, it is known as supraglottic cancer. However, if the lower end of the voice box is targeted, including the vocal cords too, it is called subglottic cancer.

What are the potential causes of this malady?

Cancer is a direct and gross outcome of genetic mutations. Indomitable and abnormal cell growth shoot up due to these genetic mutations. These cells thrive even after the healthy cells have perished, gathering up lending to the formation of tumors in the throat. Various factors have been jotted that spike up the risks of throat cancer, but the real cause is yet to be figured. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Using Tobacco for Prolonged Period – One is certainly prone to developing cancer if tobacco is smoked or chewed for the longest time ever. Smoking doubles the risks of being affected by head and neck cancer.
  2. Daily Consumption of Alcohol – Malignancy is not far away if you are an irrational drinker. Alcohol consumption every day certainly increases the risk of being a victim of Big C.
  3. Harmful Impacts of HPV – Human papillomavirus or HPV has been recently reckoned as a potential cause of oral and throat cancer.

Are you not clearly schooled about HPV? Well, HPV refers to a group of 150 viruses.
There are plenty of HPV variants. While some alter genital warts, other HPV types hike up malignancy in individuals.

Facts You Must Know:

Too much intimacy and frequent skin-to-skin contact pave way for being HPV affected. Sexually active individuals do soak up the virus sometime in their life. The virus thrives in the genital areas and ensures quick transmission during vaginal, anal and oral sex. In most cases, HPV is rarely a threat and wards off on its own. However, if it thrives and amplifies in the count, the formation of genital warts and cancer is evident. Wondering what genital warts are? Well, if you have developed little bumps or a bunch of bumps, flat, puffed up or simply in shape of a cauliflower, these are diagnosed as genital warts. It is also a leading cause of malignancy in the vulva, penis, cervix, vagina, and anus. Aggravated HPV infection can also spring up in the oropharynx including throat, in the base of the tongue and in the tonsils. The non-cancer-causing HPV variants, on the other hand, causes blisters and warts in the mouth and throat.

In most cases, the body battles out HPV naturally. On failing to do so, the virus infects the affected area where the cells grow abnormally, causing visible alterations in the body and the very deadly oropharyngeal cancer.

What are the Prominent Symptoms of Throat Cancer and Oropharyngeal Cancer?

  1. A sore Throat
  2. Hoarseness in voice.
  3. Pain in chowing down food or dysphagia.
  4. Increased lymph nodes.
  5. Sudden weight loss.
  6. A constant Cough. If the condition aggravates, you might even cough out blood.
  7. Pain in the ear.

Following up with a doctor is an immediate need if any of these symptoms have been noticed. A biopsy will be processed stepped up with further medication and treatment procedures.

How Can You Avoid being a Target for Throat Cancer?

  1. Stay clear from smoking – If are a newbie, anxious about trying out smoking, stop right away. If you are already a smoker, quit smoking. Switch to nicotine replacements or simply drop by a doctor and seek out strategies to quit smoking.
  2. Drink moderate alcohol – If you are an alcohol person, consume it with some restraints. Two drinks a day is advisable for men below 65 and for those above 65 and women, stick to just one drink a day. Remember, less alcohol is equal to merrier health.
  3. Care for your diet – Junks are undeniably tasty but not good for health. Include more greens, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Rich quantities of nutrients in the same and antioxidants does wonders in cutting down the risks of cancer.
  4. Use safe sex practices – Limit your number of sexual partners, use condoms and follow up with other preventive ways. Throat cancer can spring up due to human papillomavirus (HPV) transmissions during sex. You can also consider an HPV vaccine up for grabs after consultation only.