Your throat is part of your neck anterior to the spine, consisting of two main organs: the larynx and pharynx.
The larynx is located just after the junction of the pharynx. It is the intermediary between the pharynx and trachea. It contains the vocal cords. The larynx plays four main functions:
- swallowing of foods and other substances;
- blocking swallowed substances from returning;
- breathing, being an integral part of the airways;
- Production of vocal sounds.
The pharynx is a fibromuscular tube that extends from the back of the nasal cavity and mouth to the esophagus. It participates in four main functions:
All these functions are possible thanks to thousands and thousands of cells that work synergistically in the throat. Every day, thousands of these cells naturally die (self-cell destruction or apoptosis) to be replaced by new healthy cells. Throat cancer occurs when there is abnormal and anomic cell proliferation in the tissue of the throat.
Although all the causes of throat cancer are not identified, its primary factor is smoking. The risk is even higher when smoking is associated with heavy alcohol consumption, another causative factor for throat cancer. It is estimated that heavy smokers have about 20 times more chance to die from cancer of the throat than non smokers.
Tobacco contains toxic substances. Once in the aerodigestive tract, tobacco smoke and the harmful substances directly alter the lining of the throat by changing the morphology of the tissue. Smoking increases the air temperature inside the larynx to 42 ° C. Persistence in this practice will lead to microdamage in the throat tissue, which sooner or later turn into cancer.