Types of Cancers and Illnesses
Covered Cancers by the U.S. Government Cancer Benefit Programs
There are a wide variety of cancers and illnesses covered by the various U.S. government cancer benefit programs. Click on the following for more information about these programs: Downwinders®, Uranium Workers, Nevada Test Site Workers, Atomic Veterans®, and Department of Energy Workers.
Note: Not all cancers or illnesses are covered by all compensation programs. Please visit each program page for a list of the health problems covered by that particular program.
Covered cancers and other illnesses may include:
Cancer of the bile duct, also called cholangiocarcinoma, is very rare, with fewer than 20,000 cases in the U.S. each year. However, this type of cancer is very aggressive, and symptoms don’t tend to appear until the disease has reached its later stages and has already spread outside the bile ducts.
Bile, a greenish-brown liquid needed to digest the fats in food, is produced in the liver. And bile ducts are the small, slender tubes that carry the bile from the liver, to and from the gallbladder (which stores bile), eventually emptying bile into the beginning of the small intestine (the duodenum) – where the chemical breakdown of food continues during digestion.
When inflammation or tumors within the bile ducts block the proper drainage of bile, it can result in a buildup of bile that can leak into the bloodstream and cause infection.
Patients with bile duct cancer may experience the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain, especially on the right side, just under the rib cage
- Dark urine
- Itchy skin caused by a buildup in the skin of bilirubin and bile salts (bilirubin is part of the bile produced by the liver)
- Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes due to excess bilirubin in the blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- White or clay-colored stool
Risk factors for bile duct cancer include chronic irritation or inflammation of the bile ducts, bile duct stones, ulcerative colitis, and liver disease like cirrhosis.
Bile duct cancer is sometimes classified as a type of liver cancer.
Cancer that begins in the lining of the urinary bladder is typically diagnosed early when the disease is most treatable. Even so, most people who are diagnosed with bladder cancer will need to be monitored for years after treatment, as recurrence is likely.
Located in the pelvic area of the lower abdomen, the bladder stores urine it receives from the kidneys for eventual excretion from the body.
The most common sign or symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Additional symptoms can include pain during urination, lower back pain on one side of the body, and frequent urges yet the inability to urinate.
It is believed that the DNA mutations that lead to bladder cancer are frequently due to exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (tobacco smoke, diesel fumes) or radiation. The bladder becomes affected after a particular toxin is absorbed into the blood, and the toxin is then filtered by the kidneys and ends up in the urine.
The three main types of bladder cancer are:
- Urothelial Carcinoma – This is by far the most common type of bladder cancer. It begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder and the urinary tract. It is also referred to as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Bladder – This cancer develops in the lining of the bladder, in response to irritation and/or inflammation. Only 2 percent of bladder cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
- Adenocarcinoma of the Urinary Bladder – This type of cancer develops from gland-forming cells, and it constitutes just 1 percent of all cases of bladder cancer. Almost all adenocarcinomas are invasive and have grown deep inside the bladder walls.
When malignant tumors or abnormal tissue growth occurs in the bones of the body, it is called bone cancer.
It is rare for cancer to begin in the bones. It is much more common for cancer to begin elsewhere in the body and spread to the bones.
There are three types of bone cancer: chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and Ewing’s sarcoma. The latter two tend to occur in children and teenagers. Chondrosarcoma tends to occur in adults over the age of 40 and begins in the cartilage.
Surgery is typically required for bone cancer, although follow-up is important because it can reappear even after treatment.
If you were exposed to large doses of ionizing radiation or radioactive materials like radium and strontium, you have an increased risk of developing bone cancer because radioactive elements can build up in the bones over time.
A mass of abnormal cells anywhere in the brain is referred to as a brain tumor. When the cells are malignant (cancerous), it is referred to as brain cancer. These cancerous cells multiply and quickly spread, taking the space, blood, and nutrients of healthy brain cells.
Symptoms of brain cancer run the gamut and will depend on the precise location of the tumor. For example, if the cancer is located in the occipital lobe (which controls vision) of the cerebrum, symptoms such as blurred or reduced vision may be experienced. Some general symptoms of brain cancer can include:
- Balance issues
- Confusion or memory problems
- Personality or behavioral changes
- Vision difficulties
As is the case with most cancers, exact causes of brain cancer are difficult to prove. However, risk factors include exposure to certain compounds (such as radiation) that are linked to DNA mutations and cancer. Whether or not a person develops brain cancer will depend on the amount, frequency, and duration of the exposure.
Although most people associate breast cancer with women, it can also occur in men. An estimated 2,500 men are diagnosed every year with breast cancer – with more than 400 of them expected to die from the disease.
Breast tissue, in both men and women, consists of milk-producing glands (lobules), milk-transporting ducts, and fat. Nearly all breast cancer that occurs in men occurs in the ducts (ductal carcinoma).
Risk factors for breast cancer include family history, obesity, liver disease, and testicle disease (for men).
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer, whether appearing in a woman or man, include:
- Area of thickened breast tissue
- Discharge from the nipple
- Nipple changes, such as a turning inward (inverted nipple)
- Painless lump
- Skin changes such as redness, puckering, or scaling
When breast cancer spreads (metastasizes), it most often spreads to the lymph nodes – but it can also travel to other parts of the body such as bones, liver, and brain.
This chronic, incurable lung condition is caused by exposure to beryllium, which is one of the chemicals known to cause cancer in humans. Beryllium has been used industrially since the 1950s, including in nuclear weapons manufacturing.
Once a person is exposed to beryllium – such as from inhaling the dust or fumes of beryllium compounds or products – he or she is at risk of developing chronic beryllium disease (CBD, or berylliosis) for the rest of their life. The risk doesn’t go away, even if no additional exposure occurs.
When beryllium enters the lungs, the body develops a type of allergic response to it. This results in the scarring of lung tissue, which restricts oxygen going from the lungs to the blood.
Symptoms of CBD include shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, weakness, and fatigue. Other areas of the body may be affected if the beryllium moves into the bloodstream.
While there is no cure for CBD, a patient’s symptoms can be treated.
Cancer of the colon or rectum (also called colorectal cancer) is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in men and women. Its prevalence, and the effectiveness of preventive screenings, are why colonoscopies are recommended for all adults over the age of 50.
Colon cancer is also one of the types of cancer associated with high-dose radiation exposure.
Additional risk factors for colon cancer include:
- Adenomatous polyps
- Breast cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Family history of colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ovarian cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Ulcerative colitis
Symptoms of colon cancer include abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, stool inconsistency, and blood in the stool.
Cor pulmonale is heart failure caused by lung disease.
Also called “right-sided heart failure,” it involves an abnormal enlargement of the heart’s right ventricle. The most common cause of this type of heart failure is untreated high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries – those blood vessels carrying oxygen-poor blood from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs in order to gain oxygen. (From there, oxygenated blood is then returned to the left side of the heart.)
Considered an occupational respiratory disease, people who were exposed to and accidentally ingested uranium mine dust are believed to be at risk for cor pulmonale as well as related conditions, such as fibrosis of the lungs.
Esophageal cancer forms in the tissue that lines the esophagus, which is the tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.
The death rate from esophageal cancer is high, because it isn’t typically diagnosed until after the disease has spread. Symptoms of esophageal cancer include difficulty swallowing, choking while eating, heartburn, chronic cough, and frequent hiccups.
Risk factors for esophageal cancer includes Barrett’s esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), smoking, and alcohol consumption. There is also a possible connection between esophageal cancer and exposure to ionizing radiation such as X-rays and nuclear energy.
Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of esophageal cancer. It begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids, located toward the bottom of the esophagus.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the other type. It begins in the flat cells lining the esophagus, and it occurs most often in the upper or middle area of the esophagus.
The scarring of connective tissue, usually as the result of injury, is referred to as fibrosis. When it occurs in the lungs, it is called pulmonary fibrosis.
This type of excessive thickening and damage to lung tissue may occur due to infection or exposure to environmental pollutants such as silica, uranium, or other dust common among certain occupations, like mining.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive, fatal lung disease. Symptoms include:
- Aching muscles and joints
- Breathing that is shallow and fast
- “Clubbing” of fingers and toes (in which digits widen and become rounded at the ends)
- Dry, hacking cough
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
Fibrosis may also occur in the liver, heart, skin, and elsewhere in the body.
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located just below the liver. The liver produces bile, which is a fluid designed to help digest fat, and the gallbladder stores the bile until it is needed for digestion – at which point bile is transported via the bile ducts to the small intestine, where the breakdown of food continues.
Gallbladder cancer, a rare type of cancer, begins in the innermost layer of gallbladder tissue and spreads through to the outer layers as it metastasizes.
Gallstones create the biggest risk for this type of cancer. Gallstones cause inflammation and become embedded in the gallbladder wall; if a polyp forms, it can become cancerous. Smoking also increases the risk of getting this type of cancer.
Symptoms of gallbladder cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
- Lumps in the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
Renal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of kidney cancer.
It forms in the lining of the many small tubes within the kidney that make up the kidney’s filtration system.
Everyone has two kidneys, which are fist-sized organs located on either side of the spine in the lower-back area. Every day, the kidneys filter impurities and excess water from the blood, and this filtered solution exits the body as urine.
As is the case with most cancers, a family history of cancer and habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, drug abuse, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise can all become risk factors. For kidney cancer, there is also a link between it and exposure to cadmium (a heavy metal), ionizing radiation, asbestos, herbicides, and solvents.
Symptoms of kidney cancer include:
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in the urine
- Continuous lower back pain
- High blood pressure
- Night sweats
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) involves problems with kidney function that can lead to kidney failure.
The kidneys filter impurities from the blood. When kidneys are not able to function as they should, waste builds up in the blood, which causes symptoms of fatigue, high blood pressure, and loss of appetite.
CKD can be diagnosed by a blood test. Dialysis (external filtering of a patient’s blood) or a kidney transplant may be needed in later stages of the disease.
It is estimated that one in three adults in the US are at risk of developing kidney disease. High blood pressure and diabetes are the primary causes of kidney disease. Other causes include exposure to high-dose radiation.
Often referred to as laryngeal cancer, this type of cancer begins in the larynx, the part of the throat containing the vocal cords.
Because the vocal cords are responsible for making the sounds we make, when cancer occurs here, the first symptoms are usually changes in the voice, coughing, a sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.
More men than women develop cancer of the larynx, and it tends to occur in adults over the age of 50.
Exposure to workplace toxins such as asbestos can damage the cells of the larynx and lead to laryngeal cancer.See the throat cancer description below for other types of cancer that can occur in this area of the body.
Cancer that begins in the blood is known as leukemia. The type of blood cell involved and how fast-growing the cancer is will determine the type of leukemia.
There are four main types of leukemia. All begin in the bone marrow, which is the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are produced. Leukemia produces abnormal white blood cells that crowd out the normal white and red blood cells and platelets, and this limits their ability to properly function.
Three of the four main leukemia types are associated with radiation exposure:
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) – This fast-growing cancer starts in the myeloid line of blood cells. It begins when the bone marrow begins to make blasts (not-yet-mature cells), which are precursors to lymphocytes (what will become white blood cells). AML is also called acute myeloid leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. AML is more common than ALL (explained next).
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) – This fast-growing cancer starts in lymphocytes in the bone marrow. ALL is sometimes called acute lymphoblastic leukemia or acute lymphoid leukemia.
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) – Typically slow-growing, CML starts in the myeloid line of blood cells – and it can transform into a quick-spreading disease. Unlike the other types, CML is associated with a particular abnormal chromosome (the Ph chromosome, or Philadelphia chromosome). CML is also referred to as chronic myeloid leukemia.
The fourth type, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), is a slow-growing cancer that begins in the lymphocytes in the bone marrow. It is the most common type of leukemia in adults.
“Acute” and “chronic” in these instances indicate the speed with which the leukemia progresses: Acute types are fast-growing, whereas chronic types are slow (it may take several years before it develops into something serious).
Because leukemia cells don’t naturally die off like normal blood cells do, large numbers of these abnormal blood cells accumulate and may enter the bloodstream – where these cancerous cells are carried to organs throughout the body. A patient’s symptoms will depend on where in the body the leukemia spreads to, such as the lymph nodes, liver, or brain.
Leukemia is not diagnosed in terms of stages of a spreading cancer; rather, it’s usually described as being either untreated, in remission, or recurrent.
The skin is the human body’s largest organ, but the liver is the largest organ inside the body. It plays a critical role in digestion and in producing proteins needed for blood clotting.
Cancer that begins in the liver is referred to as primary liver cancer. If it spreads to the liver from another part of the body, it is known as secondary (or metastatic) liver cancer. Primary liver cancer is rare; it more often occurs the other way around, with the cancer starting elsewhere and spreading to the liver.
Types of primary liver cancer include the following:
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC or hepatoma) is the most common type of cancer that begins in the liver, accounting for three-quarters of all cases. It most often occurs alongside cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or another chronic liver disease.
- Bile duct cancer, or cholangiocarcinoma, is sometimes classified as a type of liver cancer – and it is the second most often diagnosed primary liver cancer.
- Liver angiosarcoma is a rare form of primary liver cancer, which begins in the blood vessels of the liver. It is believed to occur due to radiation exposure, and it has been associated with carcinogens including thorium dioxide, a byproduct of uranium production.
Symptoms of liver cancer can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal swelling
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes)
- White, chalky stool
- Lump under the ribs on the right side of the body
- Pain in the upper right-hand area of the abdomen, at the right shoulder blade, or in the back
- Unexplained weight loss
A cancer that begins in the lungs is called lung cancer.
This type of cancer can be aggressive. If it spreads into the lymph nodes, it can easily spread to other organs, including the brain, bones, liver, and the other lung. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women (after prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women).
Lung cancer is one of the many cancer types associated with high-dose radiation exposure.
There are two main types of lung cancer:
- Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer – A slow-growing cancer, this is the most common type of lung cancer. Subtypes include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large-cell carcinoma.
- Small-Cell Lung Cancer – A fast-growing, aggressive form of cancer, small-cell lung cancer often begins in the breathing tubes (bronchi). It is also called oat cell cancer or small-cell carcinoma.
Risk factors for lung cancer include:
- Smoking tobacco
- Frequent inhalation of second-hand tobacco smoke
- Exposure to cancer-causing substances, such as arsenic, asbestos, beryllium, cadmium, radon gas, uranium, arsenic, and certain petroleum products
- Exposure to high levels of air or water pollution
- Family history of lung cancer
- Lung scarring from chronic emphysema and/or bronchitis
In addition to the common symptoms, which include coughing, bloody phlegm, shortness of breath, and chest pain, less common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include a raspy or hoarse-sounding voice, trouble swallowing, back or joint pain, muscle weakness, and swelling.
Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the white blood cells of the lymphatic system. This differs from leukemia, in which the bone marrow and blood are the initiating source.
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that remove toxins from the body. It consists of vessels that carry lymph, which is a clear fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes, which travel throughout the body and toward the heart. The two types of lymphocytes than can develop into lymphomas are:
- B-lymphocytes (“B cells”), which create antibodies to fight infections
- T-lymphocytes (“T cells”), which destroy foreign cells and trigger B cells
The lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow are all considered part of the lymphatic disease-fighting network. Because lymphatic cells are present in many places in the body, lymphoma can occur almost anywhere.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is used to describe a large assortment of lymphomas. The majority of NHL in the U.S. are the type that begin in B cells; some of the most common include:
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), including primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL)
- Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
- Marginal zone lymphomas
- Burkitt lymphoma
- Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia)
- Hairy cell leukemia
- Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma
Those who have been exposed to ionizing radiation – such as nuclear test site workers or those exposed to atomic bombs – increases a person’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to studies.
NHL basically describes all types of lymphoma except for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are a handful of types of Hodgkin’s disease, all of which are distinguished from NHL by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells: mutated B cells that can be five times larger in size than the average lymphocyte.
Hodgkin’s disease tends to occur in younger adults and is fairly rare – as opposed to NHL, which occurs most often in adults over the age of 55 and is one of the most common cancers in the U.S.
Also called Kahler’s disease, multiple myeloma describes the presence of multiple cancerous tumors of plasma cells in bone marrow. Plasma cells are those white blood cells that produce antibodies, which are used by the immune system to neutralize pathogens in the body. When only one myeloma tumor is present, it is called a plasmacytoma.
As the abnormal cells grow, they crowd out healthy blood cells in bone marrow and produce abnormal proteins (monoclonal or M proteins) that can cause complications – such as kidney failure, bone loss, and anemia – instead of producing disease-fighting antibodies as they normally would.
Symptoms of multiple myeloma include:
- Bone pain, especially in the back
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent infections
- Weakness in the legs
Multiple myeloma typically starts out as MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance).
Exposure to radiation or to chemicals such as asbestos, pesticides, and more, is associated with an increased risk of developing multiple myeloma.
Nasopharyngeal cancer begins in the upper throat, behind the nose and near the base of the skull. This area is called the nasopharynx. Nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.
Most cases of nasopharyngeal cancer are of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) variety, which starts in the epithelial cells. NPC consists of three types: keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, nonkeratinizing differentiated carcinoma, and undifferentiated carcinoma.
It is a fairly rare cancer, with less than one case for every 100,000 people.
Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer include:
- Blood in saliva, or from the nose
- Ear infections
- Hearing loss
- Lump in the neck
Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, some workplace exposures (such as to formaldehyde or wood dust), and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – best known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis (“mono”).
Lymphomas can sometimes start in the nasopharynx area.
In addition to lung cancer, there are additional lung illnesses linked to radiation and chemical exposure.
This includes exposure to carcinogens like beryllium, coal-tar pitch, diesel engine exhaust, soot, and sulfur mustard. Uranium miners, nuclear test site workers, and workers involved in nuclear weapons manufacturing are believed to be at risk of exposure to radiation and carcinogens.
Lung illnesses affected by this type of exposure include:
- Chronic beryllium disease
- Cor pulmonale
- Fibrosis of the lungs
Cancer that begins in the ovaries is known as ovarian cancer. The ovaries are a pair of female reproductive organs that provide eggs for reproduction.
Ovarian cancers are classified by the type of cell in which they begin, such as these three main types:
- Epithelial carcinoma (tumors that begin in the cells on the surface of the ovary)
- Germ cell carcinoma (tumors that begin in the egg cells)
- Stromal carcinoma (tumors that begin in the cells that release hormones)
Ovarian cancer is a rare disease that typically isn’t diagnosed until it has spread because there are often no symptoms early on, and later symptoms are fairly generic (abdominal pain, fatigue, unexplained weight loss).
As with many types of cancer, exposure to radiation and cancer-causing substances is believed to be associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which cancer begins in the pancreas. The pancreas is an asymmetrical organ that is about six inches long, and it is located just under the stomach. The pancreas secretes enzymes (to help digest food) and hormones, including insulin (to help transform sugar into energy).
Most often, cancer begins in the exocrine (enzyme-producing) cells which line the ducts of the pancreas, and it is called pancreatic adenocarcinoma or pancreatic exocrine cancer. Less often, it occurs in the endocrine (hormone-producing) cells and is called islet cell cancer.
Compared to other types of cancer, pancreatic cancer is relatively rare. This cancer doesn’t usually produce symptoms in the early stages, and the symptoms are nondescript in later stages. Risk factors include diabetes, a family history of pancreatic cancer, and pancreatitis (chronic inflammation of the pancreas).
This is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the glands that produce saliva in the mouth.
Most salivary gland cancers begin in the parotid glands, which are located inside the cheeks, just in front of each ear. The other major pairs of salivary glands are the submandibular glands (under the floor of the mouth) and sublingual glands (below either side of the tongue).
Salivary gland cancers are typically given a grade of 1, 2, or 3, depending on how likely it is to spread, and how abnormal the cells look under a microscope. In this case, a grade of 3 is the fastest-spreading with the poorest expected outcome for patients.
Signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer include difficulty swallowing or opening the mouth wide, and a lump near the jaw.
Radiation exposure increases the risk of salivary gland cancer.
Silicosis is a type of lung fibrosis (damage to lung tissue) that is specifically caused by the inhalation of dust containing silica.
Silica can be crystalline (hard) or noncrystalline (amorphous, or without characteristic form). The crystalline version is classified as a human lung carcinogen. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica.
Breathing silica dust can occur in certain occupations, such as mining, construction, stone cutting, and manufacturing. Silicosis can take years after exposure to appear.
Coughing is an early symptom, which progresses to shortness of breath, even when at rest.
There are three types of silicosis, which differ based on how long each takes to develop:
- Chronic silicosis is the most common form, and it develops after 20 or more years of exposure to low levels of silica dust
- Accelerated silicosis results from 5-15 years’ exposure to larger levels of silica dust
- Acute silicosis results from short-term exposure to high levels of silica dust
The small intestine, or small bowel, is about 20 feet long when stretched out, and it is located within the digestive tract between the stomach and the large intestine (colon). Most digestion occurs within the small intestine; it is where the nutrients and minerals from food are absorbed.
The three parts of the small intestine are the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. When cancer begins anywhere within the small intestine, it is known as small intestine cancer.
The most common types of small intestine cancer include:
- Carcinoid tumor
Gastric (stomach) cancer begins in the tissue which lines the stomach. It is the fifth most common cancer worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
There may be no symptoms of stomach cancer at the disease’s early stages, which makes it difficult to detect when it is most treatable. Later-stage symptoms include a feeling of fullness after eating very little, nausea, indigestion, and difficulty swallowing.
Exposure to ionizing radiation is a risk factor for stomach cancer.
Also called pharyngeal cancer, throat cancer begins in the pharynx – the passageway leading from the nose and mouth to the esophagus.
There are three areas of the pharynx where throat cancer can begin:
- Nasopharynx (behind the nasal cavity)
- Oropharynx (behind the mouth)
- Hypopharynx (lower part of the pharynx – also called the laryngopharynx)
When cancer occurs in the larynx (i.e. the voice box), it may also be considered a type of throat cancer.
The majority of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use. Infection with some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with an increased risk of oropharyngeal cancer. Radiation exposure and certain occupational exposures are also risk factors for throat cancer.
Symptoms of throat cancer include difficulty speaking or swallowing, throat pain that doesn’t go away, and trouble hearing.
Throat cancer is considered a type of head and neck cancer.
Thyroid cancer forms in the thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the lower front area of the neck. The thyroid uses iodine – a mineral found in some foods and in salt – to produce hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.
When cancer forms in the thyroid, it can affect hormone production and cause problems throughout the body.
There are five types of thyroid cancer, and they are classified based on their appearance under a microscope. They are listed here in order of least to most aggressive:
- Thyroid lymphoma
The cause of thyroid cancer is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as exposure to high levels of radiation.
Call the National Cancer Benefits Center at (800) 414-4328 to find out what compensation program you or a family member may be eligible for. Or use our convenient online form to request more information.