Head and neck cancer is an umbrella term for the different types of cancers that can start in the mouth, nose, and throat. “Treatment of head and neck cancer can vary, depending upon the site, the type of tumor, whether it’s HPV-positive or not, and the staging of the tumor,” Mark S. Persky, MD, professor in NYU Langone’s Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and director of the Head and Neck Center at Perlmutter Cancer Center, tells HealthiNation.
Many of the primary risk factors for head and neck cancer are lifestyle related, meaning most people have a real opportunity to manage their risk. “Abuse of alcohol and tobacco certainly increases the risk for developing the cancer. If you do one or the other, either could potentially cause cancer, but if the smoking and drinking are combined, then the chance of developing cancer is much increased,” says Dr. Persky.