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Risks and Prevention for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

It is important to know if you are at high risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Risk factors include:

  • Alcohol use 
  • Diabetes and immunosuppression
  • Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection
  • Having precancerous lesions 
  • Radiation exposure 
  • Tobacco use
  • Wood and nickel work

To prevent your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, you should:

  • Protect yourself from HPV by reducing your number of sexual partners and using condoms. An HPV vaccine is now available for young women, men and adolescents. 
  • Stop smoking.
  • Stop or limit alcohol.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.