Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

Research is increasing regarding what we know about oropharyngeal cancer. Scientists are learning more about its causes. Following are common risk factors for the disease:

Smoking and chewing tobacco

Heavy alcohol use

A diet low in fruits and vegetables

Drinking maté, a stimulant drink common in South America

Chewing betel quid, a stimulant commonly used in parts of Asia

Being infected with Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Signs and Symptoms

These and other symptoms may be caused by oropharyngeal cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

A sore throat that does not go away.

A dull pain behind the breastbone.


Trouble swallowing.

Weight loss for an unknown reason.

Ear pain.

A lump in the back of the mouth, throat, or neck.

A change in voice

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