Often Overlooked Causes Of Oropharyngeal Cancer

Since Oropharyngeal cancer is the most common form of cancer among young people and is the fastest growing cancer on record, people are pretty well informed about what causes this form of cancer. Smoking and consumption of alcohol is known amongst the general population to cause oral cancer, and most people know of the link between HPV and developing oral cancer as well. And while these are known carcinogenic activities, there are other characteristics and activities that have a positive correlation with developing Oropharyngeal cancer. Here is a list of some of the more obscure activities that are known to cause cancer.


What you eat is usually considered as a factor when assessing how at risk you are for developing Oropharyngeal cancer. There is a positive correlation between eating a lot of red meat and the appearance of Oropharyngeal cancer. This does not mean that red meat as such causes oral cancer, and you can still enjoy a steak once in a while, but try to eat less of it. It is also known that both raw and cooked vegetables seem to protect against developing Oropharyngeal cancer. By what precise mechanism this is done is not yet understood, but the correlation is there. Beta carotene, a compound that makes carrots orange, but is present in many other vegetables as well, has been found to prevent and slow down the development of leukoplakia, the white film that is very often the precursor to oral cancer.



Many times cancer is caused by an aggravation, an immune reaction of the body that is too strong or that is botched somehow that creates a cancerous cell that then proliferates. This is why other diseases can make the patient more susceptible to developing oral carcinomas. HPV is the most prevalent example because it is present in such a large percentage of the human population, but other viruses, like Epstein-Barr virus are also known to be likely causes of oral cancer. Such inherited conditions like reflux disease can also aggravate the cells and make them more likely to turn cancerous, and oral cancer is also much more likely to develop in patients who have recently underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantations. Patients who are suffering from leukoplakia should also make sure to nurse their mouth back to health, as leukoplakia turns into oral cancer a full one third of the time.


Exposures to certain carcinogenic materials make it much more likely to contract oral cancer in particular. Asbestos is known to cause oral cancer, as well as cadmium and other heavy metals. A lot of airborne agents, particularly tar and particulate matter like wood and paint can also cause the development of Oropharyngeal cancer. Petroleum products, like the smoke from cars and the BPA found in plastic bottles are also likely candidates.

The last factor that needs to be considered and which is by far the most frightening of them all is age. The human body is a time bomb, and eventually, given enough time, a cell will make that turn and will somehow get past the defenses of the immune system. The immune system kills thousands of cells each day in your body that turn cancerous before they develop, and it is less and less able to do so as time progresses. So going to the dentist and the doctor in general becomes more and more important as we age, and the more seriously one takes one’s health, the less likely one is to develop cancer, and even if one does, with the case of Oropharyngeal cancer, at least it can be removed if caught early on.

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