Mouth cancer and other head and neck cancers are often treated similarly. Mutated genes may result in a cell which grows and proliferates at an uncontrolled rate, is unable to repair DNA damage within itself, or refuses to self destruct or die (apoptosis). DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes — the instructions for how our cells function. Dyskeratosis congenita is a rare inherited syndrome characterized by abnormal nails, skin color changes on the neck and chest, and white patches in the mouth (called leukoplakia); these white patches predispose individuals to cancer of the mouth and throat. A person's risk for oral cancer increases the longer he or she smokes; although, on a more positive note, smoking cessation is linked to a significant decrease in risk. Both alcohol and tobacco are … However, you can reduce your risk of mouth cancer if you: Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Largely, oral cancer is linked to tobacco use. Human papillomavirus (HPV virus) is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted disease in the United States and is linked to the development of genital warts and various cancers, including cervical, vaginal, penile, and anal cancer. How Does Oral HPV Cause Head and Neck Cancer? Oral cancer rates have more than doubled in a generation, according to a new awareness campaign by the Brit-based nonprofit Oral … Lip and oral cavity cancer treatment (PDQ). In the throat, at the base of the tongue, where tongue cancer may develop with few signs and symptoms (hypopharyngeal tongue cancer). Betel quid chewing and the risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancers: a meta-analysis with implications for cancer control. Oral cancer, also known as oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer, is a common disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States alone. Causes of Oral Cancer Two separate lines of research are now converging to unravel the complex series of events that lead to cancer. Overview. Causes & Risk Factors of Mouth Cancer. Bad breath is an early sign of oral cancer, whether or not you are a smoker. Each year, over 450,000 people across the globe are diagnosed with the disease. If oral cancer is identified early, it is almost always treatable. Where your tongue cancer occurs also affects your treatment. Common signs include mouth sores, mouth pain, white or red patches in the mouth… Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world and is very treatable if caught early. Plymouth Meeting, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The leading cause of oral cancer is from the use of smokeless and smokable tobacco products. Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Causes of oral cancer Smoking and drinking: There is a reason why every packet of cigarette comes with a caution for cancer these days. It's not clear what causes the mutations in squamous cells that lead to mouth cancer. Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is cancer of the lining of the lips, mouth, or upper throat. Mouthwash use and cancer of the head and neck: a pooled analysis from the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium. Although cancer in this stage is on the surface layer and has not started to grow into deeper layers of tissue, it can do so if not treated. Read our, Medically reviewed by Douglas A. Nelson, MD, Medically reviewed by Jessica Shepherd, MD, Verywell Health uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Both tobacco and alcohol are carcinogenic, which means they contain chemicals that can damage the DNA in cells and lead to cancer. National Cancer Institute. And in the mouth or throat signing up using smokeless tobacco often begins as leukoplakia, with a,... 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