Oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade the oral cavity (mouth) and the oropharynx (part of the throat at the back of the mouth). Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include the following:
- Tobacco Use: This accounts for most of the oral cancers. Cigarettes and all other forms of tobacco use may result in oral cancer.
- Alcohol: People who drink alcohol are more likely to develop oral cancer more than people who don’t drink.
- Sun exposure: Lip cancer is often caused by excessive sun exposure.
In the past, oral cancer was considered to have a low incidence of occurring. However, this is changing. Oral cancer is increasing. Over the past 30 years, oral cancer has increased in adults under 40 years old. Approximately, 35,000 people in the US were newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2008 (Oral Cancer Foundation). In addition, oral cancer is diagnosed in about 100 new people each day.