Just like any other form of cancer, head neck cancer can be very distressing and painful. This chronic ailment can cause a lot of disruption in your normal routine making the most basic activity of eating and drinking difficult. While there are standard head neck cancer treatment options such as radiation and chemotherapy that can be applied to cure this type of cancer, the chances of survival depend on how early the disease is detected. In fact, head and neck cancer patients have high chances of overcoming the diseases if they are diagnosed early. However, there is nothing better than prevention. It’s always best to understand the risk factors first and stay protected.
Risk factors for head and neck cancer
Risk factors are not always sure-shot signs of a person getting affected by head neck cancer. There have been several cases where people have several risk factors but lead a healthy life without getting affected by this condition. On the other hand, there are people who may not have any prominently visible risk factors but may end up with the condition. In either case, being aware of proper information about the risk factors can help with the prevention of head neck cancer.
The two things that can increase the chances of getting head and neck cancer are tobacco and alcohol. It is known that about 85% of cases of head and neck cancer are linked to tobacco use. Apart from this, factors like marijuana abuse, prolonged exposure to the sun, direct infection with HPV virus and poor oral or dental hygiene can also increase your risk of head neck cancer. Also, men over the age of 40 are more prone to this type of cancer than women or younger people.
Preventing head neck cancer
Based on the above risk factors, the following steps are suggested to prevent head neck cancer:
- Stop smoking or any tobacco use. Not just direct tobacco, even exposure to smoke in the form of passive smoking should be avoided.
- Stop drinking alcohol as well as avoid marijuana use.
- Use sunscreen adequately with the right SPF.
- Reduce your risk of contracting HPV virus.
- Maintain proper dental and oral hygiene.
You probably cannot shield yourself against every type of cancer that can strike your health, but knowing the risks and mitigating them gives you an edge against this deadly disease.