Are You at Risk of Head and Neck Cancer?

Eileen Bailey | May 9, 2018

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True or false: Women are more likely to get head and neck cancer than men.
  1. 0 True
  2. 1 False
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False. Cancers of the head and neck are about four times more common in men than in women, according to the Rogel Cancer Center of the University of Michigan. This may be because men tend to smoke and consume more alcohol, both of which are major risk factors for these types of cancers.

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  1. 1

    True or false: Women are more likely to get head and neck cancer than men.

    Correct Answer: False

    False. Cancers of the head and neck are about four times more common in men than in women, according to the Rogel Cancer Center of the University of Michigan. This may be because men tend to smoke and consume more alcohol, both of which are major risk factors for these types of cancers.

  2. 2

    True or false: Exposure to chemicals can increase your risk of developing certain types of head and neck cancer.

    Correct Answer: True

    True. Long-term exposure to some chemicals can increase the risk of developing laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers, according to the Rogel Cancer Center of the University of Michigan. Job sites where workers inhale asbestos, wood dust, paint fumes, and chemicals used in the metalworking, petroleum, plastic, and textiles industries can increase the risk of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancers.

  3. 3

    True or false: Around 75 percent of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol.

    Correct Answer: True

    True. Tobacco and alcohol use are the two main risk factors that cause head and neck cancers, responsible for up to 75 percent of all head and neck cancers, especially cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx, according to the National Cancer Institute. Using both tobacco and alcohol increase the risk even further.

  4. 4

    True or false: Only inhaled tobacco products raise the risk of head and neck cancers. Smokeless tobacco, also called chewing tobacco or snuff, is safe to use.

    Correct Answer: False

    False. All tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, can increase the risk of developing head and neck cancers. Tobacco products, along with alcohol, are one of the largest risk factors, according to the National Cancer Institute.

  5. 5

    True or false: Asian ancestry is a risk factor for head and neck cancer.

    Correct Answer: True

    True. Having Asian ancestry puts you at great risk for this group of cancers. Those of Chinese ancestry are particularly at risk.

  6. 6

    True or false: The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for head and neck cancer.

    Correct Answer: True

    True. Some types of human papillomavirus (HPV,) especially HPV type 16, increase the risk of head and neck cancer, particularly those that involve the tonsils and base of the tongue, according to the National Cancer Institute. These head and neck cancers related to HPV are on the rise in the U.S.

  7. 7

    True or false: People with certain genetic conditions are more likely to develop head and neck cancers.

    Correct Answer: True

    True. Certain genetic conditions increase the risk of developing head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, according to a report published in The Journal of Laryngology and Otology. Fanconi anemia, ataxia telangiectasia, Bloom's syndrome, and Li–Fraumeni syndrome all raise the risk.

  8. 8

    True or false: Poor oral hygiene may increase your risk of head and neck cancer.

    Correct Answer: True

    True. It’s important to take good care of your mouth by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth and seeing your dentist for routine checkups. Poor oral hygiene is a possible risk factor oral cancers.

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    True or false: Eating preserved or salted foods may help lower your risk of head and neck cancer.

    Correct Answer: False

    False. Consuming preserved or salted foods during childhood may increase the risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

  10. 10

    True or false: Radiation exposure for noncancerous conditions may help lower your risk of developing salivary gland cancer.

    Correct Answer: False

    False. Radiation exposure for noncancerous conditions may actually increase the risk of developing salivary gland cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.