Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes windpipe cancer?"
Why would somebody get cancer in their windpipe? I know that's what killed my grandfather, so I'm trying to make sure that whatever mistakes he made are mistakes I don't make. If it's the smoking, I don't smoke - but I do work in a bar where there's smoke...
First, I am sorry to hear that your grandfather died of laryngeal cancer (also known as throat cancer or squamous cell carcinoma). I do not believe most people would choose that way to go if they had a choice. The main risk factors for laryngeal cancer in the United States are cigarette smoking and heavy drinking. The vast majority of patients that develop this kind of cancer have a history of smoking and/or drinking alcohol. Avoiding these risk factors will go a long way to preventing this type of cancer in you. Unfortunately, there are still bars in the United States where smoking is aloud. This puts non-smokers at a unfair risk of developing the complications of smoking. This will have to be your decision as to whether this job is worth the extra risk you will have. I suggest you schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician. He or she can take a detailed history and perform a thorough physical exam and give you a very good estimation of your risk of developing laryngeal cancer. Avoiding tobacco smoke and excessive alcohol intake are two of the most important things you can do for yourself. Good luck.
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