An estimated 35,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed each year. An estimated 25% of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors. However, there are some risk factors that are associated with oral cancer:
Alcohol and tobacco remain the greatest risk factors (and using them in combination increases the risk 15 times over the use of one or the other)
Prolonged sun or tanning bed exposure is a risk factor for lip cancer.
Smokeless (chewing) tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes – users face a 400% greater chance of oral cancer than non-users.
If you have risk factors, see your oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dentist for an oral examination at least annually. The earlier the cancer is detected, the easier the treatment and the greater the chance of a cure.
Source: National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health