Citing the Cleveland Clinic, head and neck cancer belongs to a group of cancers that form in the squamous cells lining the mouth, throat (pharynx), and voice box (larynx). It can also occur in the sinuses or salivary glands, but this is rare.
The most significant risk factors for head and neck cancer are smoking, followed by alcohol consumption, and Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
According to the Cancer Center, approximately 85 percent of head and neck cancer diagnoses are related to tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes, cigars, or using chewing tobacco.
The combination of tobacco and alcohol use accounts for at least 75 percent of head and neck cancers.
People infected with HPV are at a higher risk of throat and mouth cancer. HPV infections have increased in recent years among individuals between the ages of 40-50 years.
Next, this article will provide some steps you can take to prevent head and neck cancer.
How to Prevent Head and Neck Cancer?
As recommended by the Cleveland Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some ways to prevent head and neck cancer:
1. Quit Smoking: To reduce the risk of head and neck cancer, it is best to quit smoking in all its forms.
2. Reduce Alcohol Consumption: Frequent and heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cancer in the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.
3. HPV Vaccination: HPV infection risk can be reduced through vaccination. Limiting exposure to HPV can also be achieved by practicing safe and healthy sexual behavior.
4. Use Lip Balm with Sunscreen: Use lip balm containing sunscreen when outdoors and avoid tanning.
5. Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine dental examinations often help detect head and neck cancer symptoms early, making it easier to treat.
These head and neck cancer prevention measures can be complemented with a healthy lifestyle, such as choosing nutritious foods, getting regular sleep, and engaging in sufficient physical activity.
A healthy lifestyle helps boost the immune system and supports your overall health.
It is essential to note that a weakened immune system makes it harder for your body to fight various types of cancer, including head and neck cancer.