Throat Cancer

Throat cancer can form anywhere in the upper, middle or lower part of the throat. It is relatively rare but there are known increase risks of developing the disease in workers who have been exposed to certain chemicals and substances, such as asbestos and coal dust.

Cancer is a class of diseases in which abnormal cells multiply and divide uncontrollably in the body. These abnormal cells form malignant growths called tumors. Throat cancer refers to cancer of the voice box, the vocal cords, and other parts of the throat, such as the tonsils and the oropharynx.

Throat cancer is often grouped into two categories: pharyngeal cancer, which forms in the pharynx (the hollow tube that runs from behind your nose to the top of your windpipe) and laryngeal cancer, which forms in the larynx (your voice box).

What types of substances may increase the risk of throat cancer

Your risk of getting the condition is increased by:

  • smoking tobacco
  • regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • having a family history of head and neck cancer
  • having an unhealthy diet
  • exposure to certain chemicals and substances, such as asbestos and coal dust

Work in the rubber industry: working with strong inorganic acid mists including sulphuric acid increases the risk of development of throat cancer.