Your risk of developing a head and neck cancer is primarily increased by the use of tobacco (both chewing and smoking) or alcohol. At least 85 percent of individuals who develop head and neck cancer have used tobacco or excessive alcohol or both. Your risk is highest if you have used both. You also have an increased risk of developing head and neck cancers if you are a man and greater than 50 years old. Other risk factors that may increase your risk are previous radiation therapy to your head or neck, excessive exposure to sunlight (lip cancer), poor oral hygiene (mouth and throat cancer), excessive chewing of betel quid (a blend of materials commonly chewed in India), wood and nickel dust exposure (nose and sinus cancer), and asbestos exposure (larynx cancer). Infection with the Epstein Barr virus may increase your risk of developing cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat located behind the nose), especially if you are of Asian descent. Infection with human papilloma virus may increase your risk of cancer of the mouth or throat.
A Answers (4)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Johns Hopkins Medicine answered
Head and neck cancers are diagnosed in more than 70,000 Americans each year. Men are nearly three times more likely to develop the disease than are women. Head and neck cancers include cancers of the mouth (such as lip and tongue), the pharynx or throat and the larynx or voice box.
Early symptoms occur as a lump or nodule, numbness, swelling, hoarseness, sore throat or any difficulty moving the jaw or swallowing.
Risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and chewing smokeless tobacco. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center doctors have found that people who smoke one pack of cigarettes a day are six times more likely than non-smokers to get cancer of the head or neck. Those who also have two alcoholic drinks a day increase their risk 20-fold.
Aurora Health Care answeredThe following factors increase your risk of head and neck cancer:
- Tobacco use is a primary risk factor for head and neck cancer. This includes smoking (cigarettes, cigars, and pipes), as well as snuff and chewing tobacco.
- Alcohol, plus tobacco use, dramatically increases your risk of head and neck cancer.
- Studies have shown that heavy smoking, drinking, and snuff chewing are the main causes of head and neck cancers.
- The rate of head and neck cancer is more than twice as high in men as in women.
- Men who are older than 50 have the highest rate for head and neck cancer.
- Poor-fitting dentures
- Exposure to cancer-causing materials in the workplace (such as asbestos and mines)
- Poor diet
- Weakened immune system
- HPV (human papilloma virus) - transferred by sexual contact
- Genetic syndromes
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Patrick Maguire, MD, Oncology, answeredThe mouth and throat are initially exposed to the effects of what we consume, both food and drink, and are at risk for cancer. Potent carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) like tobacco smoke and the human papilloma virus (HPV) have been found to be responsible for the vast majority of squamous cell cancers of the head and neck (HNSCC).