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Who gets Oral Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men are over age 50 face a greater risk.  It’s estimated that over 40,000 people in the U.S. received a diagnosis of oral cancer in 2014.

Risk factors for the development of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking-Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are 6 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers
  • Smokeless tobacco users-Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol-oral cancers are about 6 times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-Certain HPV strains are etiologic risk factors for Oropharyngeal Sqyamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC)

It is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.