Causes of Tongue Base Cancer
As with most cancers, doctors can’t tell you with certainty what causes tongue base 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.