Oral cancer is a cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or throat. Most develop in the squamous cells found in your mouth, tongue, and lips. Oral cancers are most often discovered after they have spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Early detection is key to surviving this cancer.
Risk Factors for Developing Oral Cancer
There is no question that certain behaviors can increase your chances of developing oral cancer. One of the biggest risk factors is tobacco use — including smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or the use of chewing tobacco.
People who consume large amounts of alcohol and tobacco are at an even greater risk, especially when both products are used on a regular basis.
The risk for oral cancer increases with age. Adults over the age of 44 are at the greatest risk. The average age of diagnosis is 62. Men are also twice as likely to get oral cancer as compared to women.
Oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in North America. Canadian statistics reveal that more cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in a year than cervical or ovarian cancer. The good news? Approximately 84 percent of oral cancer cases may detected early by a dental professional. Screening for oral cancer is quick and easy, with no pain or discomfort involved. It's critical for early diagnosis and prevention.