Oral cancer risks were once very predictable. Over 95% of all cases were from tobacco use, either smoked or smokeless and/or alcohol usage. The majority of these cases were found in patients over 50 years old with men afflicted more than women. A small population of cases outside of these risk factors were, for the most part, of unknown etiology.
This old standard has rapidly changed in recent years. With the continued decrease in smoking in the United States it is surprising to see a nearly fivefold increase in oral cancer patients under the age of 40.
Oral cancer is a devastating, even deadly, cancer that can go unnoticed until it has progressed to later stages. Twenty-five percent of all oral cancer victims are non-smokers, non-drinkers and have no other lifestyle risk factors.