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FAQ11: Are there "non-smoking" reasons for a laryngectomy?

Non Smoking Reasons For A Laryngectomy
By Paul Galioni, pgalioni@yahoo.com

No one can ever say where their cancer came from. While the 19th century might be called the 'age of industrialization' the 20th century might be called either 'the age of war' or 'the age of cancer'.

There are just so many causes of cancer that you just can't say for sure. We 'presume' that it is the result of known 'strong' carcinogens — known cancer causers.

Smoking is one big cause. If you have a total the chances are you smoked.

Alcohol is another cause. If you have a total the chances are you drank alcohol.

Agricultural chemicals are another cause. If you have a total the chances are you have been exposed to various agricultural agents.

Genetics are another cause. If you have a family history of throat and/or lung cancer, the chances are that you have a total.

Right now there are so many chemical out there which cause cancer it is difficult to pin one down. So you use a 'presumptive' test. If you smoked it is presumed the smoking caused the cancer.

On the maternal side of my family ever male with the exception of my brother who died of an OD and my uncle has had or died from throat or lung cancer — and few of them smoked. My uncle is still alive and may be the only male member on the maternal side to not die of throat or lung cancer going back three or four generations.

So my uncles Gordon, Byron, Harry, Dan, etc all died of throat or lung cancer, and not one of them smoked. But they did heat with wood and then oil — also known carcinogens.

So — we all say 'smoking' but that is just one of many reasons. Often people need to blame things on something and have to know the 'why' of a thing.

Sometimes things just 'are'. Like my genetic make-up. Did I smoke? yes. Drink? yes. Use agricultural chemicals? yes. Be exposed to agricultural chemicals? yes. Exposure to asbestos? yes. Exposure to other biologically active chemicals? yes. Bad atmospheres as a firefighter? yes. So — what caused the cancer?

Does it really matter?

Seems to me the important thing is for a person to just get up and get going. Doesn't really matter except from a prevention point of view what caused what. And while you hear a lot of shout and rout about Tobacco, you seldom hear it about alcohol. Or agricultural chemicals. or other organics — like, oh, did you know that the smoking oil from stir fry cooking can cause throat cancer? — I didn't until I read a study in Medline about it.

So — all that really matters is that you are able to accept your stoma, your new life style, and move on.

Lingering on the why of things is like a spinning wheel in mud or snow — you can spin and spin and even pin really fast — but you are no closer to your destination than you were when you first got stuck.

To get unstuck don't ask 'why' ask, instead, 'what now?'

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