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Each year there are about 54,000 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer.

The most common sites for oral cancer are:

  • Tongue
  • Tonsils & oropharynx
  • The floor of the mouth & gums

The average age of most people diagnosed is 63, but of course, it can occur in younger individuals. 1 in 5 cases occurs in patients under 55.

Risk factors

  • Tobacco& alcohol use
  • Infection with certain types of HPV
  • Gender (twice as common in men vs. women)
  • Excess body weight
  • Age (55 and older)
  • UV light (sun exposure)
  • Poor nutrition (a diet low in fruits and veggies is linked with an increased risk)
  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • Poor oral health (studies have linked but more research is needed)

Early detection and prevention are key! Make sure you come in for your routine checkups. We perform oral cancer screenings each time you come in for your checkup. We examine extra orally (around your head and neck) along with intraorally.

It is also important to be aware of signs & symptoms. Please let us know if you experience any of the following:

  • A sore in the lip or mouth that doesn’t heal
  • Pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away
  • A lump or thickening tissue
  • A red or white patch that doesn’t go away
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Any numbness

When in doubt- CHECK IT OUT! Give us a call so we can do a screening for you!


  1. Oral Cavity & Oropharyngeal Cancer Key Statistics 2021
  2. Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer