One of the most common types of cancer is head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancers are the sixth most common cancer worldwide and the most common cancer in developing countries. Oral cancer, which is a subset of head and neck cancers, refers to any cancerous growth in the oral cavity. Risk factors for oral cancer include age, malnutrition, genetic factors, family history, X-rays, papilloma virus, alcohol, smoking, tobacco, which three last are the strongest risk factors. The destructive link between tobacco products and human cancers stems from a powerful combination of two factors - nicotine and carcinogens. The highest incidence of tobacco related oral cancer is seen in low and middle income countries. The chance of curing oral cancers increases if they are diagnosed and treated early. At least three-quarters of all oral cancers can be prevented by quitting smoking and drinking alcohol. Screening programs can be valuable in patients from high-risk groups (smokers and alcoholics) or in patients with a previous diagnosis of cancer outside the head and neck.
Part of the book: Oral Cancer