Although oral cancer makes up only a small portion of annual cancer cases, it is still a serious problem. Since cancerous lesions in the mouth are easily mistaken for other kinds of sores or overlooked as they develop, they're often not detected until the later stages of the disease.
- The tongue, particularly the sides and underneath
- The lips, especially the lower lip
- The oral cavity (the mouth) in general
- The pharynx (back of mouth and throat)
- Aging - More than 90% of all oral cancers occur in individuals over 40. However, the incidence among younger people has been on the uptick recently,
perhaps related to lifestyle behaviors.
- Race - African Americans have a higher incidence of oral cancer than Caucasians.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco - Smokers are at five to nine times greater risk for developing oral cancer.
- Alcohol - Moderate to heavy drinkers are at three to nine times greater risk; the higher the alcohol content, the greater the risk
- Diet - A high intake of fruits/vegetables, which are high in antioxidants, has been found to have a protective effect against a variety of cancers,
- Chronic sun exposure - Often connected with lip cancers