The Top 7 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Approximately 49,750 people will be diagnosed with
cancers of the mouth, throat, tonsils and tongue
this year. What you should know about the top 7 risk
You know your dentist is looking for cavities during
regular check-ups, but you may not realize your
dentist can screen for cancer at the same time.
It’s estimated that approximately 49,750 people
will be diagnosed with oral cancer and cancers of
the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue in 2017.
Regular visits to your dentist can help you detect
such cancers early, and changing a few potentially
harmful habits may help reduce your chances of
developing them. Read on to find out the top risk
Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer.
The American Cancer Society attributes this to
higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use by men, but
says more men of a younger age are being
diagnosed with HPV-related forms of oral cancer.
Most people who are diagnosed with oral cancer are
55 or older, according to the American Cancer
Society. HPV-related oral cancers, however, are
often diagnosed in people who are younger.
Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco use
increases your risk dramatically. Smoking can cause
oral cancer, as well as cancer in other parts of the
body. Pipe smokers are also at a higher risk for
developing cancer in their lips. Smokeless tobacco,
like chew, can lead to many issues in your mouth,
the most serious being cancer of the cheeks, gums,
According to the American Cancer Society,
7 of 10 oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers.
Heavy drinking, as defined by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an average
of two drinks a day or more for men and an
average of more than one drink a day for women.
If you are a heavy drinker and a heavy
smoker, your chances of developing oral cancer
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
The sexually transmitted disease is now associated
with about 9,000 cases of head and neck
cancer (specifically those occurring at the
back of the tongue, in or around the tonsils)
diagnosed each year in the United States,
according to the CDC. People who are diagnosed
with HPV-related head and neck cancer tend
to be younger and nonsmokers. People with
HPV-positive cancers have a lower risk of
death or recurrence, even though these cancers
are often diagnosed at a later stage because it
develops in difficult-to-detect areas.
People who have jobs working outside are more
prone to developing lip cancer and should use UV
Poor nutrition also may put you at risk for
developing oral cancer. A diet low in fruits and
vegetables may increase your chance of
developing oral cancer, so add more color to your