Contact: Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Suregery, UNIBEN
Cancers have emerged and remained major sources of economic burden, psychosocial problems, physical morbidity and mortality worldwide. This burden is increasing in economically developing countries. The roles of alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, radiation exposure, human papilloma virus infection, chronic irritation, dietary exposures and insufficiencies as well as genetic susceptibility to carcinogenesis have been well established. This study assessed some of the commonly implicated risk factors for head and neck cancers. Data for the study were obtained by clerkship, physical examination, radiological examination and histological examination. Findings showed that the head and neck cancers peaked in the 6th decade of life. More males (70%) were affected than females (30%). Most common risk factors were alcohol, smoking, hydrocarbon and voice abuse 61, 47, 17 and 14 respectively of all the cases. The least common risk factors were asbestos, heavy metals and family history, accounting for 2, 2, and 3 respectively of all the cases. It was concluded that whereas familial tendencies may be important risk factors in cancers of head and neck, environmental risk factors, particularly use of alcohol and smoking are more profound. Awareness campaign against cancers risk factors and provision of screening center for early detection of the disease recommended.
Keywords: Risk factors, head and neck, cancer