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Ghana News

Early Sex and Multiple Partners Increase Risk of Throat Cancer, says Korle-Bu Neck Surgeon

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Throat cancer is becoming increasingly common in Ghana, and according to Dr Kenneth Baidoo, an otolaryngologist and neck surgeon at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, there are several contributing factors. One of the primary causes of oropharyngeal cancer is early sexual activity. People who start having sex at a young age are more likely to develop the disease, as are those with multiple partners. This type of cancer, while uncommon, is responsible for three percent of all cancer deaths.

Dr Baidoo also highlighted some of the major symptoms of throat cancer that people need to be aware of, including severe neck and ear pain. Historically, alcohol and tobacco have been the primary causes of throat cancer, but the rise of oral cancer has changed the landscape. While the disease used to be more prevalent in those aged 50 and over, it is increasingly affecting people between the ages of 30 and 40.

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Men are also at a higher risk of being infected with the disease than women. Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, also known as tonsil cancer, refers to the cancer of the base and posterior one-third of the tongue, the tonsils, soft palate, and posterior and lateral pharyngeal walls. There are two types of oropharyngeal cancers including HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer, which is caused by an oral human papillomavirus infection, and HPV-negative oropharyngeal cancer, which is linked to the use of alcohol, tobacco, or both. HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer is most common in young people.

It is crucial to identify the early symptoms of throat cancer and seek medical help immediately. While the disease can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, prevention is always better than cure. As such, individuals should be mindful of their sexual habits, avoid smoking and excessive drinking, and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

For the most part, throat cancer is preventable, and individuals can take steps to reduce their risk of developing the disease. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and prevention strategies, Ghanaians can safeguard their health and well-being.

 

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