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Can head and neck cancer be prevented?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Although no method will prevent head and neck cancer with certainty, eliminating risk factors for the disease will reduce the chances of developing it. Because tobacco and alcohol use are the primary risk factors for head and neck cancer, stopping the use of tobacco (smoking or chewing) and stopping or greatly reducing the intake of alcohol are the most important prevention strategies. Head and neck cancer may also be prevented by improving your oral hygiene, ensuring that your dentures fit properly, avoiding exposure to wood and nickel dusts and asbestos, limiting or stopping the chewing of betel (a blend of materials commonly chewed in India), and avoiding infection with the human papilloma virus. Using lip balm and avoiding excessive sun exposure may reduce the risk of lip cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.