In 2017, actor Val Kilmer publicly disclosed that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. Many know Val Kilmer as the handsome box office star of the original Top Gun and appears in the sequel Top Gun: Maverick. A few years later, he released a documentary on Amazon about his life, career, and throat cancer diagnosis.
Most people with throat cancer have a history of alcohol consumption and smoking. However, it is also possible to get throat cancer from a viral infection like human papillomavirus (HPV).
Throat cancer is challenging and life-altering because it affects the head and neck. If you see Kilmer’s condition now and compare it to how he used to be, before the diagnosis, you’ll understand its effects.
Throat Cancer Symptoms
Here are the top symptoms you can expect from throat cancer.
1) An Inner Neck Lump
When a lump forms inside the neck, it is one of the earliest signs of throat cancer. In fact, it is the first sign Kilmer noticed before receiving his diagnosis. He eventually needed to get a tracheostomy because the lump was making it difficult for him to breathe.
2) Throat Soreness
Another early warning sign is consistent soreness in your throat. If your sore throat doesn’t go away after two weeks, you should immediately consult your doctor.
3) Trouble Swallowing
Any throat or mouth cancer will make swallowing extremely difficult and uncomfortable.
4) Changes to Your Voice
People with throat cancer develop a condition called hoarseness, which is when the voice changes and sounds huskier or weaker. This condition may be followed by persistent coughing as well.
The voice changes when small abnormal growths form on the vocal cords, indicating a possible glottic cancer.
Can HPV Cause Throat Cancer?
An HPV infection could potentially cause you to develop throat cancer. The risk is higher when you engage in oral sex with several partners regularly. That is why you should get tested for HPV and throat cancer if you have an active oral sex life.
Throat cancer begins when cancerous cells grow in the tonsils, throat, or voice box. Aside from the cancer risk of HPV, you can also get throat cancer from alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes, poor diet, and acid reflux disease.
If you want to naturally reduce your throat cancer risk, start by taking better care of yourself. For example, eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Also, take AHCC as it’s the only natural mushroom based supplement proven to fight HPV. That should go a long way in helping you prevent throat cancer.
Secondly, you should get the HPV vaccine if you haven’t already gotten it before. Since there are no standard screening tools for detecting HPV or throat cancer, the best thing to do is get the HPV vaccine as early as possible. Then you can stay protected if you happen to be exposed to HPV from oral sex or some other mouth-sharing transfer.
Medical experts still don’t know if HPV alone can cause cancerous cells to develop in the throat or mouth without any other risk factors present. Some doctors theorize that additional risk factors like smoking and drinking alcohol must be present along with HPV for throat cancer to form.
On the other hand, many people who eat nutritious foods without drinking or smoking have still gotten throat cancer. Does this mean genetics was a factor in their throat cancer development? Was their HPV infection the primary cause of their throat cancer?
Medical researchers are continuing to study the causes and risk factors of throat cancer so that they can answer these questions more conclusively. As for Val Kilmer’s throat cancer, its reason is still uncertain.