Prevention and Risk Factors

Anyone can develop head and neck cancer, but understanding prevention and risk factors can help reduce your chances of acquiring these types of cancer.

Prevention

Minimizing head and neck cancer risks requires lifestyle changes. It is important to have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Eliminating tobacco and alcohol use also may reduce the risks of developing cancer. It is important to discuss ways to improve your health and reduce cancer risks with a doctor.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that contribute to increasing your chances of acquiring head and neck cancers. These risk factors are genetic (predisposed traits), behavioral, and environmental. The following are risk factors:

Environmental

  • Exposure to known carcinogens such as industrial toxins (asbestos and benzenes)
  • Repeated exposure to chemicals in tobacco and tobacco smoke

Behavioral

  • Tobacco use
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol use

Genetics

  • Predisposed to inheriting gene mutations from parents

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