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Oral cancer can be a scary thought. However, it is crucial to know the facts about this disease to become more aware of your own risk factors and take steps toward early detection. Regular visits with a dentist allow oral cancer to be caught in its early stages when treatment is most successful. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year alone. Having a thorough understanding of oral cancer and knowing its risk factors will help you make better decisions to lower your chances of developing this disease

Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which begin in the flat cells that make up most of the surface area of the mouth.

Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which begin in the flat cells that make up most of the surface area of the mouth. The most common risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use, with frequent alcohol use being a close second. Many patients will be able to receive treatment that results in their survival rate is about 50% at five years.

The most common type of oral cancer is on the tongue and the floor of the mouth

  • The most common type of oral cancer is on the tongue and the floor of the mouth.
  • The tongue and floor of the mouth are the most common sites of oral cancer.
  • The tongue is the most common site of oral cancer.

90% of oral cancers are associated with smoking cigarettes or tobacco.

The most common risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use, which accounts for 90% of cases. Tobacco use is a risk factor for all types of oral cancer, as well as all stages of the disease at all ages. Even secondhand smoke exposure can contribute to an increased risk of developing oral cancer; this type of passive smoking has been associated with a two-fold increase in the likelihood that someone will contract this condition.

Tobacco users who drink alcohol heavily are at exceptionally high risk for oral cancer.

Tobacco users who drink alcohol heavily are at particularly high risk for oral cancer. Drinking has been shown to increase the risk of developing oral cancer by up to 20%, and tobacco use can add another 30% on top of that.

People may not experience symptoms in the early stages

Oral cancer is a disease that strikes about 50,000 Americans each year, and there are three main types of this malignant tumor:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma, which often occurs on the lips or cheek
  • Adenocarcinoma of the floor of mouth and tongue (also called tonsil cancers)
  • The metastatic form of oral cancer spreads to lymph nodes in the neck or lungs. These can also be caused by other things (like smoking), but more than half of all cases are linked to alcohol consumption.

Symptoms are non-specific at first, so it’s important to see your dentist as soon as you notice any changes in your mouth—even if they seem minor. Some patients don’t experience pain or swelling early on; instead, they might notice a sore that doesn’t heal or a lump in their mouth that doesn’t go away over time. Other signs include an exposed nerve (a red patch), white patches on the gums or tongue (leukoplakia), lip sores that don’t heal properly after trauma, and/or ulcerations inside the cheek near teeth roots; where no food should be getting into them at all!