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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes head and neck cancers?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 4


    Dr Kenneth Wong

    Bariatric (Obesity) Surgeon, General Surgeon, Laparoscopic Surgeon

    Dr Ken Wong is a very experienced specialist surgeon focussing on keyhole surgery techniques for gallstones, bowel cancer, hernia and weight loss surgery. He graduated … View Profile

    Head and neck cancers refer to a very large group of cancers. In Australia, I tend to see a lot of skin cancers. These are usually squamous cell cancers. As a general priniciple, anyone that presents with a lump anywhere in the head and neck or there is a skin lesion that changes in shape, size, colour should consult a surgeon for consideration of biopsy and removal. It is thought that sun exposure, radiation and smoking are big causes of head and neck cancers.

    Dr Ken Wong

  • 7


    A/Prof Faruque Riffat

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    Like any cancer, head and neck cancers have multifactorial causes. In addition to genetic risk factors, the acquired ones are


    -alcohol intake

    -human papilloma virus (HPV)

    HPV which is spread through sexual contact is increasingly being recognised as cause of head and neck cancer in non-smoker. Cancers caused by HPV often have a better prognosis due to improved treatment response and minimally invasive surgical and radiation techniques which can be tailored to the patient.

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