5 Oral Cancer Risk Factors You Should Be Aware Of

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 54,010 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2021. Oral cancer affects the tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, gums, floor of the mouth, lips, or the minor salivary glands.

Visiting your dentist twice a year can help you detect early signs of oral cancer and get appropriate medical help. 

Dr. Roshan Emam, DDS, in Palo Alto, California, is a passionate preventative and cosmetic dentistry specialist who offers personalized care for her patients to help them live happy and successful lives.

In this blog, you can find information on potential risk factors for oral cancer.


The American Cancer Society notes that men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. The difference is attributed to the higher rates of tobacco and alcohol use in men.


People diagnosed with oral cancer are usually over the age of 55. 

Human Papillomavirus

Also known as HPV, human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection that can also cause oral cancer. HPV-related oral cancer occurs in the back of the throat, in the base of the tongue and in the tonsils, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This form of cancer is not limited to certain age groups and is known to occur in younger, non-smoking patients. Fortunately, this type of oral cancer has higher survival rates.


According to the American Cancer Society, 7 out of 10 people diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Men who consume two or more drinks a day and women who consume more than one drink per day, on average, run the risk of developing oral cancer.


Smoking or chewing tobacco is known to cause oral cancer as well as other types of cancer. Pipe smokers and tobacco chewers run a high risk of developing cancer in their cheeks, gums, and lips.

Oral cancer is treatable when spotted early. Regularly visiting an experienced dentist like Dr. Emam in Palo Alto, California, for dental checkups can help you maintain your health and detect any serious illnesses before they develop. Call Dr. Emam at (650) 321-0340, book an appointment online, or visit our office at 850 Middlefield Rd. Suite 8, Palo Alto, CA 94301.


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