What are the common risk factors for oropharyngeal cancer? Here are some overall triggers that may leave you prone to both mouth and throat cancers:
Factor 1: Alcohol and/or Tobacco - Use and abuse of these items are known throat cancer causes; though people who don't use alcohol and tobacco may also contract the disease. And the throat cancer survival rate decreases for patients who resume tobacco or alcohol use.
The American Cancer Society reports that 80 percent of people with oral cancer are smokers, and about 70 percent consume alcohol. (Some data suggests mouthwash with high alcohol contents might also trigger oral and oropharyngeal cancers, though this remains unproven.)
Factor 2: Virus Exposure - Cancer Treatment Centers of America cites a possible link between exposures to the human papillomavirus (HPV) or the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to cancer of the throat.
The Washington Post reported research findings suggesting that HPV contracted through oral sex may account for increases in tonsil and base of the tongue cancers, but that other oral and throat cancer incidents decline as more people quit smoking. These throat cancer patients respond better to radiation treatment than people with oropharyngeal cancer caused by smoking and drinking, according to the American Cancer Society.
Factor 3: Poor Nutrition - Diets lacking fruits and vegetables might be one of the key throat cancer causes. Eat fresh produce to improve your throat cancer prognosis.
Factor 4: Age - Doctors tend to find people more prone to the disease as they age. There's no magic number, but as you get into your 40s and 50s, you should pay more attention to what's going on in your mouth. (Ill-fitting dentures are another suggested but as yet unproven throat cancer cause.)
Factor 5: Gender - For some reason, more men than women get throat cancer, possibly because more men than women smoke.