Throat Cancer Death Rates Soar Bad Habits To Blame

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Figures have confirmed that the number of people dying from throat cancer has increased by 50 per cent in the last 40 years alone; experts have attributed the sharp increase to obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

The latest figures, which were published by Cancer Research UK, show that 7,600 people died from throat cancer in 2011, which represents a death rate of 13 per 100,000 people; this is a significant increase from 3,800 deaths in 1971, which represented a mortality rate of 8 per 100,000 people.

The figures show that throat cancer has become particularly dangerous among men, with the death rate soaring by 65 per cent in the last 40 years, compared to a nine per cent increase among women.

The rising death rate is a result of the increasing number of cases of throat cancer, also known as oesophageal cancer, in the UK; the UK now has the highest number of cases per 100,000 people in Europe, with a rate of 6.4 per 100,000 people, compared to the European average of 3.3.

Oesophageal cancer affects the tube, which connects the throat to the stomach; risk factors include smoking, drinking heavily, obesity and age.

Oesophageal surgeon and member of the research team at Southampton University, which is currently working on a human genome project for Cancer Research UK, Mr Tim Underwood, said that the figures provided a stark reminder that there is a very long way to go in terms of tackling throat cancer; he added that early detection is the most important aspect, as many of the patients he sees are already too ill to respond to treatment and more needs to be done to ensure that patients are aware of the symptoms to look out for.

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