The causes of head and neck cancers are not fully understood. We know that certain things can increase a person’s chances of developing it. These are called risk factors. Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will definitely get a head and neck cancer. And if you do not have any risk factors, it does not mean you will not get it.
The main risk factors for head and neck cancers are tobacco and alcohol. It is thought that about 3 out of 4 head and neck cancers (75%) are linked to tobacco or alcohol use.