Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Oral cancer begins in the mouth, also called the oral cavity. Common names for oral cancers include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer.
The death rate associated with oral and pharyngeal cancers remains particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development and many who do survive suffer long-term problems such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and speaking. The earlier the cancer is detected, the easier the treatment and the greater the chance of a cure.
Primary risk factors for developing an oral or oropharyngeal cancer include:
While smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the highest increasing number of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to a HPV16 virus. Fortunately their is a readily available HPV16 vaccine which can be used to to protect our next generation. However, there is no vaccine for adults already exposed.
HPV16 Vaccine -This vaccine, given to young men and women ages 9 through 26, prevents pre-cancerous changes that may become cancer. HPV vaccination is currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all boys and girls ages 11 or 12, and for men and women ages 13 through 26 who have not already received the vaccine or have not completed booster shots.
Possible Oral cancer signs and symptoms includes:
Not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss it with your doctor.