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Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer

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Risk Factors for Head and Neck Cancer

Major risk factors for the development of head and neck cancer include tobacco and alcohol abuse, with other less-common risk factors including occupational exposures, nutritional deficiencies, and poor oral health. Viral etiologies have also been established, with human papillomavirus infection appearing to be a risk factor, particularly within the oropharynx, in younger people without a history of tobacco or alcohol abuse. In addition, an association has been made between Epstein-Barr virus and nasopharyngeal cancer.