Close

Soft Palate Cancer

Causes of Soft Palate Cancer

As with most cancers, doctors can’t tell you with certainty what causes soft palate cancer. It’s a combination of genetic factors and factors in your environment.

By far the most common factor contributing to most head and neck cancers is using tobacco, particularly smoking it. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also contributes to the risk of developing head and neck cancer.

  • Tobacco: Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes and using chewing tobacco greatly increase your chance of getting a throat cancer.
  • Alcohol: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is also very strongly related to getting a throat cancer. Moreover, if you both smoke and drink heavily, the risk more than doubles.
  • Viruses: Exposure to certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with oropharynx cancer. The strains 16 and 18 are the main ones we are concerned about. This virus is quite common, and it is associated with intimate sexual contact. Why some people get cancer from this virus while others don’t is still a mystery.
  • Exposure to radiation in the past: Being exposed to radiation as part of a natural disaster, treatment for another disease a long time ago or even through work can increase the chances of some throat cancers.
  • Genetic factors: This is important in all cancers, and the details are still being worked out.
  • Certain foods: Deficiencies in some vitamins and poor oral hygiene might be associated with oropharynx cancers.
References

1 Ang KK, Harris J, Wheeler R, Weber R, Rosenthal DI, Nguyen-Tân PF, Westra WH, Chung CH, Jordan RC, Lu C, Kim H, Axelrod R, Silverman CC, Redmond KP, Gillison ML. Human papillomavirus and survival of patients with oropharyngeal cancer. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jul 1;363(1):24-35. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0912217. Epub 2010 Jun 7.

2 Blot WJ, McLaughlin JK, Winn DM, et al. Smoking and drinking in relation to oral and pharyngeal cancer. Cancer research. Jun 1 1988;48(11):3282-3287.

3 D'Souza G, Kreimer AR, Viscidi R, et al. Case-control study of human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal cancer. The New England journal of medicine. May 10 2007;356(19):1944-1956.

4 Moreno-Lopez LA, Esparza-Gomez GC, Gonzalez-Navarro A, Cerero-Lapiedra R, Gonzalez-Hernandez MJ, Dominguez-Rojas V. Risk of oral cancer associated with tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and oral hygiene: a case-control study in Madrid, Spain. Oral oncology. Mar 2000;36(2):170-174.

5 Koivunen P, Rantala N, Hyrynkangas K, Jokinen K, Alho OP. The impact of patient and professional diagnostic delays on survival in pharyngeal cancer. Cancer. Dec 1 2001;92(11):2885-2891.

6 Roistacher SL, Tanenbaum D. Myofascial pain associated with oropharyngeal cancer. Oral surgery, oral medicine, and oral pathology. May 1986;61(5):459-462.

7 Rogers SN, Vedpathak SV, Lowe D. Reasons for delayed presentation in oral and oropharyngeal cancer: the patients perspective. The British journal of oral & maxillofacial surgery. Jul 2011;49(5):349-353.

8 Spiro RH, Thaler HT, Hicks WF, Kher UA, Huvos AH, Strong EW. The importance of clinical staging of minor salivary gland carcinoma. Am J Surg. 1991 Oct;162(4):330-6.

9 Krause CJ, Carey TE, Ott RW, Hurbis C, McClatchey KD, Regezi JA. Human squamous cell carcinoma. Establishment and characterization of new permanent cell lines. Arch Otolaryngol. Nov 1981;107(11):703-710.

10 Licitra L, Perrone F, Bossi P, et al. High-risk human papillomavirus affects prognosis in patients with surgically treated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Journal of clinical oncology: official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dec 20 2006;24(36):5630-5636.

11 Eveson JW, Cawson RA. Tumours of the minor (oropharyngeal) salivary glands: a demographic study of 336 cases. Journal of oral pathology. Jul 1985;14(6):500-509.

12 Jan JC, Hsu WH, Liu SA, Wong YK, Poon CK, Jiang RS, Jan JS, Chen IF. Prognostic factors in patients with buccal squamous cell carcinoma: 10-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Feb;69(2):396-404.

13 Sinha P, Lewis JS Jr, Piccirillo JF, Kallogjeri D, Haughey BH. Extracapsular spread and adjuvant therapy in human papillomavirus-related, p16-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer. 2012 Jul 15;118(14):3519-30.

14 Pradhan SA, Rajpal RM. Marginal mandibulectomy in the mangement of squamous cancer of the oral cavity. Indian J Cancer. 1987;24;167-171.

15 Maddox WA, Urist MM. Histopathological prognostic factors of certain primary oral cavity cancers. 1990 Dec;4(12):39-42; discussion 42, 45-6.

16 Piccirillo JF, Costas I, Reichman ME. Chapter 2: Cancers of the Head and Neck. Ries LAG, Young JL, Keel GE, Eisner MP, Lin YD, Horner M-J (editors). SEER Survival Monograph: Cancer Survival Among Adults: U.S. SEER Program, 1988-2001, Patient and Tumor Characteristics. National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, NIH Pub. No. 07-6215, Bethesda, MD, 2007.

17 Adelstein, D. J., et al. (2012). "Transoral resection of pharyngeal cancer: summary of a National Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Steering Committee Clinical Trials Planning Meeting, November 6-7, 2011, Arlington, Virginia." Head Neck 34(12): 1681-1703.

18 Amin M, Edge S, Greene F, et al. (2017). AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 8th ed. New York: Springer.

19 Barnstetter BF, Blodgett TM, Zimmer LA et al. (2005). “Head and neck malignancy: is PET/CT more accurate than PET or CT alone?” Radiology 235(2):580-586.

20 Beitler JJ, Zhang Q, Fu KK, et al. (2014). “Final results of local-regional control and late toxicity of RTOG 9003: a randomized trial of altered fractionation radiation for locally advanced head and neck cancer.” Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 89(1):13-20.

21 Cracchiolo, J. R., et al. (2016). "Increase in primary surgical treatment of T1 and T2 oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and rates of adverse pathologic features: National Cancer Data Base." Cancer 122(10): 1523-1532.

22 Denis F, Garaud P, Bardet E at al. (2004). “Final results of the 94-01 French Head and Neck Oncology and Radiotherapy Group randomized trial comparing radiotherapy alone with concomitant radiochemotherapy in advanced-stage oropharynx carcinoma.” J Clin Oncol 22(1):69-76.

23 Haughey, B. H., et al. (2011). "Transoral laser microsurgery as primary treatment for advanced-stage oropharyngeal cancer: a United States multicenter study." Head Neck 33(12): 1683-1694.

24 Hinni, M. L., et al. (2013). "Margin mapping in transoral surgery for head and neck cancer." Laryngoscope 123(5): 1190-1198.

25 Li RJ, Richmon JD. (2012). “Transoral edoscopic surgery: new surgical techniques for oropharyngeal cancer.” Otolaryngol Clin North Am 45(4):823-844.

26 Sher, D. J., et al. (2017). "Radiation therapy for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: Executive summary of an ASTRO Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline." Pract Radiat Oncol 7(4): 246-253.

27 Zumsteg, Z. S., et al. (2017). "Impact of concomitant chemoradiation on survival for patients with T1-2N1 head and neck cancer." Cancer 123(9): 1555-1565.

28 Cohen, E. E., LaMonte, S. J., Erb, N. L., Beckman, K. L., Sadeghi, N. , Hutcheson, K. A., Stubblefield, M. D., Abbott, D. M., Fisher, P. S., Stein, K. D., Lyman, G. H. and Pratt‐Chapman, M. L. (2016), American Cancer Society Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 66: 203-239. doi:10.3322/caac.21343

Important: Privacy Update

Your privacy and the protection of your personal information is important to the THANC (Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer) Foundation and the Head & Neck Cancer Guide (HNCG). For this reason, we have updated our privacy policy to align with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Please click below to see an updated privacy policy that describes how we collect and use your personal information and respect your privacy.

Privacy Policy