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.