About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth and pharynx (the back of the throat). Oral cancer accounts for roughly three percent of all cancers diagnosed annually in the United States. Approximately 48,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year and about 9,600 will die from the disease. On average, 64 percent of those with the disease will survive more than 5 years. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40 and affects more than twice as many men as women.
What Puts Someone at Risk?
Tobacco and alcohol use. Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarette smoking, puts you at risk. Heavy alcohol use also increases your chances of developing the disease. And using tobacco plus alcohol poses a much greater risk than using either substance alone.
HPV. Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (specifically the HPV 16 type) has been linked to a subset of oral cancers.
Age. Risk increases with age. Oral cancer most often occurs in people over the age of 40.
Sun Exposure. Cancer of the lip can be caused by sun exposure.
Diet. A diet low in fruits and vegetables may play a role in oral cancer development.
Possible Signs & Symptoms
See a dentist or physician if any of the following symptoms lasts for more than 2 weeks.
It is important to find oral cancer as early as possible when it can be treated more successfully.
An oral cancer examination can detect early signs of cancer. The exam is painless and takes only a few minutes.
Your regular dental check-up is an excellent opportunity to have the exam. During the exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will check your face, neck, lips, and entire mouth for possible signs of cancer.
Some parts of the pharynx are not visible during an oral cancer exam. Talk to your dentist about whether a specialist should check your pharynx.
Content provided by the website of the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research - NIH Publication No. 16-5032, September 2016 https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/OralCancer/OralCancer.htm