What is Oral Cancer and How Can it Affect Your Life?

an elderly couple

• Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the tissues in your mouth or throat and primarily affects men.

• Smoking cigarettes, using other tobacco products, or excessive alcohol consumption are all risk factors for developing oral cancer.

• HPV infection is another significant risk factor for developing oral cancer and can be prevented by getting vaccinated.

• Oral cancer can seriously affect your overall health and lifestyle if left untreated, so it is vital to get the right treatments.

If you are wondering what oral cancer is, you have come to the right place. Oral cancer can be a severe condition that may have long-term effects on your life if left untreated. Here’s what you need to know about the basics of oral cancer, how it is caused, and how it can affect your life.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the tissues in your mouth or throat. It mainly affects men but can also affect women. It usually develops in the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums, and salivary glands. Oral cancer can also develop in other parts of your head and neck, such as your tonsils or lymph nodes. There are many ways to get this disease.

Man with tooth loss

Causes of Oral Cancer

The exact cause of oral cancer is unknown, but some factors are thought to increase your risk of developing this type of cancer. Here are some of the risk factors for this disease:

Smoking and Other Tobacco Products

One of the most common risk factors for developing oral cancer is smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products, such as cigars or chewing tobacco. While this has long been known to be a significant risk factor, recent studies have also shown that even smokers who do not consume any tobacco products are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. It is important to note that e-cigarette use has also been linked to increased chances of developing oral cancer.

Alcohol Consumption

Research has also indicated that excessive alcohol consumption may increase the risk of developing oral cancer, especially if combined with smoking tobacco products. For example, studies have found that those who consume more than four alcoholic drinks per day have a significantly higher chance of developing oral cancer than those who drink less than four drinks per day.

HPV Infection

The human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is another significant risk factor for developing oral cancer. The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact, and it is estimated that nearly three out of every four cases of mouth and throat cancers are caused by HPV infection.

Vaccines are available for HPV, so it is essential to speak with your doctor about whether or not you should be vaccinated against the virus if you are at an increased risk due to lifestyle choices or other factors.

How Oral Cancer Can Affect Your Life

Oral cancers can seriously affect your overall health and lifestyle if left untreated. Depending on the location and severity of the tumor, oral cancer can affect your ability to eat, speak, and breathe.

It can also lead to disfigurement in some cases and other potentially life-threatening complications if left untreated. Therefore, it is essential to visit your local dental office to get the right treatments. Here are some of the most common treatments for it:


Surgery may be recommended if the tumor is localized and has not spread to other areas. Surgery can help remove the tumor and any affected tissue, allowing your doctor to check for any signs of cancer metastasis (spread).

Radiation therapy

In some cases, radiation therapy may also be recommended. This treatment involves using high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is typically used with surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence or metastasis. It’s excellent if cancer has not spread yet, but it’s essential to consider the side effects, such as hair loss and fatigue.


Chemotherapy is another treatment option that may be used to kill cancer cells. This type of treatment involves the use of drugs or other chemicals that are injected into your body. It is typically used when tumor cells have spread to other body parts, and surgery is not an option.

By getting the correct information about oral cancers, understanding your risk factors, and getting screened regularly, you can help to ensure that you stay healthy. Talk to your doctor today if you have any questions or concerns about your risk of developing oral cancer.

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