The term “head and neck cancer” refers to various types of cancer affecting several key parts of this general area of the human body, including the mouth, nose and throat. Cancers that emerge here typically begin their development in the cells lining the wet, mucosal exterior inside the head and neck; for example, the salivary glands in the throat and mouth.
Many of the cancers that begin in the head and neck areas are caused by excessive or long-term use of alcohol and tobacco, with some experts suggesting that three in four cancers caused by these two substances alone. However, these are highly complex regions of the body and cancer can result from several sources. Let’s take a quick look at some common causes of head and neck cancer.
1. Alcohol consumption
When we think of health problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption, we tend to think about the liver, the organ responsible for filtering the alcoholic beverages we consume. But excessive alcohol consumption also affects the head and neck, and specifically the mouth, throat, and larynx.
In fact, health experts indicate that people who drink roughly three to four alcoholic beverages each day double or even triple their chances of developing cancer in these key areas of the head and neck. Keep in mind that the chance of developing cancer in these areas is only magnified if the individual is a regular user of tobacco.