John Stoddard Cancer Center
1221 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Larynx Cancer Risk Factors
There are various risk factors associated with laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. They include:
- Tobacco Use: A majority of people who get these cancers are smokers. The more a person smokes, the greater the risk.
- Alcohol Abuse: Heavy drinkers have a greater chance of getting cancer of the larynx. Using both tobacco and alcohol makes the risk even higher.
- Diet: Poor eating habits and a lack of foods with B vitamins, vitamin A, and retinoids may contribute to this disease.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV): This virus can cause warts on the hands, feet, and other places, as well as cause cancers of the sex organs. HPV may be an important factor in some cases of cancer of the larynx and hypopharynx as well.
- Weak Immune System: These cancers are more common in people with a weak immune system caused by diseases present at birth, AIDS, or certain drugs required after organ transplants.
- Work Hazards: Exposure to wood dust, paint fumes, and certain chemicals can increase the likelihood of getting laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers. Asbestos, used in the past for insulation, may also increase the likelihood of getting laryngeal cancer.
- Gender: Men are four to five times more likely than women to get laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer.
- Age: Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers take a long time to grow. As a result, they are not common in young people. Most are in their 60's when these cancers are found.
- Race: Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers are more common among African Americans than Caucasians.