Head and Neck Cancer

Currently identified causes of HNC include

  • use of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco;
  • excessive alcohol consumption; and
  • viruses such as HPV and Epstein-Barr.

Other factors that have been reported to increase the risk for HNC include

  • prolonged sun exposure (especially in cancers of the lip and in skin cancer of the head and neck region);
  • poor dental and oral hygiene;
  • environmental and occupational inhalants;
  • recreational drug use (e.g., marijuana);
  • poor nutrition;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD);
  • weakened immune system from medications or underlying disease; and
  • betel nut chewing.

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