Oral Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors

Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, refers to any form of cancer that occurs in any of the parts that make up the oral cavity. Oral cancer can occur in the gums, tongue, lips, inner lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and floor of the mouth (under the tongue). Oral cancer is among the various types of cancers that are placed in a category called head and neck cancers. Oral cancer and other forms of head and neck cancer have the same treatment methods.

Studies show that over 53,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States. The condition is more common in people who are older than 50 years old. Oral cancers are mostly discovered after they have spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. This is why early detection is very important and plays a significant role in survival rates. Oropharynx cancer [1] is a type of throat cancer that forms in the middle part of the throat, the tongue’s base, and tonsils.

What Are The Types of Oral Cancers?

Oral cancers can be divided into various groups based on the location. The types of oral cancers include cancers of the:

  • Tongue
  • Inner lining of the cheek
  • Lips
  • Floor of the mouth
  • Gums
  • Hard and soft palate

Dentists are usually the first healthcare practitioner to detect oral cancer. They mostly notice signs of the condition during a regular checkup or tests for another oral condition. Going for biannual dental checkups can help your dentists detect oral cancer early and monitor the health of your mouth.