Throat cancer is one of the many kinds of Head & Neck cancers. When Hollywood actor, Michael Douglas, was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer, he brought this disease, usually discussed in hushed tones to the limelight. He used his estimated worth of $200 million to get the best attention and cure for his cancer, which fortunately could be cured. His ordeal with throat cancer was portrayed on the popular TV show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. His portrayal of his “persistent sore throat” opened up the discussion of this particularly treacherous, fast developing cancer. This Oscar winning actors Actor Michael Douglas’ comments about throat cancer have thrown a spotlight on risks from HPV during oral sex. Michael Douglas suggests oral sex caused his throat cancer.
“I’ll never forget,” Michael says. “All he did was put a tongue depressor on my tongue. I just looked—I saw the look in his eye. He pulled back, and he looked at me, and said, ‘Well, I guess we’re going to need a little biopsy on that.'”. He is now cancer free.
Throat cancer can kill
Many throat cancer patients are not this fortunate; they may not be diagnosed in time to survive this quick progressing scrouge of the mouth, larynx and voice box. It kills more men than women. In recent times there has been an alarming rise in throat cancer, especially among men. There are many risk factors for throat cancer. Among them oral sex and the biological microorganism, HPV, are suspected to play an increasing role in recent years. HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus, has been shown to have an association with various cancers of the neck of both men and women, in addition to cancers of the cervix in women. During oral sex, the micro-organism, HPV might be transferred between males and females, or between males and males, or between females and females. HPV does not discriminate. HPV is a common cause of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and is spread during unprotected sex with an infected partner. Read more.
Listed below are some of the general symptoms and warning signs of head and neck cancer listed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York, which treated and cured actor Michael Douglas of his throat cancer, after an attentive Canadian doctor diagnosed his “persistent sore throat” needed a biopsy.
* blood in the sputum
* persistent sore throat
* persistent hoarseness or a change in the voice
* persistent pain in the neck, throat, or ears
* difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaws or tongue
* numbness in the tongue or other areas
* a lump or swelling in the neck
Throat cancer is the cancer of the mouth, larynx, voice box, thyroid
Throat cancer is not a medical term. In hospitals it is under the term Head and Neck cancers. The medical name for the throat is the pharynx. The easiest way to think of this is as a passage that makes sure food and drink go in one direction (down the food pipe). Cancers are treated according to where they started and the type of cell they started from. The treatment for mouth cancer will not be the same as treatment for cancer of the voice box. Each year, approximately 48,000 Americans are diagnosed with a head or neck cancer (not including skin cancers that occur in the head or neck). These tumors account for up to 5 percent of all cancers in the US.
Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth) is the most common type of head and neck cancer. Nearly 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the US each year. Oral cancer can begin in the lips, the gums, the area behind the molars or wisdom teeth, the inside of the lips and cheeks, the floor and roof (hard palate) of the mouth, and the front of the tongue. Most oral cancers arise in the tongue, the lip, the floor of the mouth, and the minor salivary glands. The rest are found in the gums and other sites.(Read more).
Your dentist is your first line of prevention – most oral cancers are first detected by the dentist!
The cancer that arises in the voice box (larynx) — is the second most common type of head and neck cancer. An estimated 12,000 new cases of laryngeal cancer are diagnosed in the US each year. The vast majority of laryngeal cancers occur in men. People with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder associated with certain hereditary conditions, exposure to chemical inhalants like asbestos, deficiency in vitamins A and E, may have a higher risk of developing laryngeal cancer. The most common symptoms of laryngeal cancer include hoarseness, ear pain, a neck lump in the neck near the adam’s apple and difficulty swallowing. Read more.
Pharyngeal (Throat) Cancer
Prior infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is also a particularly strong risk factor for this cancer site (Read more). The cancer of the pharynx or throat is in three areas of the throat:
– uppper part of the throat, nasopharynx
– middle part of the throat, oropharynx
– bottom part of the throat, hypopharynx
An estimated 11,800 people develop pharyngeal cancers in the US alone, but nasopharynx cancer is much more common in Asia, the Mediterranean area, and Africa than in the US. A lump in the throat is the most common symptom with nosebleeds as a frequent symptom. The living with mouth and oropharyngeal cancer pages cover coping with your diagnosis and the possible effects of cancer and treatment on your appearance, diet, breathing, speech and sex life. Read more.
Throat cancer is squamous cell cancer
Squamous cell cancer is the type of cancer which remains restricted to a specific region. Read more.
This cancer is considered preventable. Read more. Visits to the dentist is the first line of screening for oral cancer! A poor diet, a weakened immune system and prior exposure to the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) among other exposure factors that are preventable.
An annual examination for such cancers of the Head and Neck is highly recommended if you suspect a risky lifestyle factor. The annual visit to the dentist is an additional recommended screening for oral cancer. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York, hosts a free screening for this cancer every spring funded by The Yul Brynner Foundation. Do check your local hospitals. They too may host free screenings, or dental visits or group chats with people having similar symptoms and worries. Physicians have found that seeking out people who share your similar concerns about this cancer has helped in therapy.
KEEP YOUR THROAT PRETTY!