Head and Neck Cancer

Risk Factors involved in Head and Neck Cancer

The risk factors associated with head and neck cancers are mostly related to lifestyle. They can be prevented by staying away from lifestyle choices that increase the risk of getting cancer. It is also seen that these risk factors also affect the recurrence and survival probabilities of patients. We do not yet know the exact causes of the various head and neck tumors, but knowing the risk factors can go a long way in preventing and fighting cancer. The various risk factors associated and causes of head and neck cancers are discussed below.

  • Nasopharyngeal cancer: Some of the risk factors associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma include Alcohol consumption, eating excessively salty foods, from Chinese or South African ancestry, exposure to wood dust, exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and having a family history of nasopharyngeal cancer.
  • Oropharyngeal cancer: The causes of oropharyngeal cancer are found to be excessive smoking of cigarettes, excessive Alcohol consumption, exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV), and family history.
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer: People who consume excessive alcohol, chew tobacco, smoke cigarettes, are not getting enough nutrients, and/or have Plummer-Vinson Syndrome are at a much higher risk of getting hypopharyngeal cancer.
  • Laryngeal cancer: People who smoke tobacco, cigarettes or drink Alcohol excessively are at risk of getting laryngeal cancer.
  • Lip and oral cavity cancer: Men are at a higher risk of getting lip and oral cavity cancer than women. Moreover, those who use Tobacco and Alcohol excessively, and those who are exposed to excessive sunlight are also at a much higher risk.
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer: It has been found that people who are more exposed to various types of dust in the workplace, such as sawdust, wood dust, leather dust, flour and nickel and chromium dust are more prone to getting nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers. Exposure to various chemicals such as radium, which is a radioactive element, and mustard gas, a poison used in chemical weapons, are also found to lead to these cancers.
  • Salivary gland cancer: Exposure to various types of radiation, such as the ones used in Radiation therapy and other toxic chemicals are possible risk factors associated with salivary gland cancer. Older adults are also at a higher risk.