There are two main types of oral cancer: oral cavity (mouth) and oropharynx (middle region of the throat). It can develop in or on any of the following areas:
- Floor of the mouth
- Roof of the mouth
- Middle region of the throat
While anyone can develop oral cancer, it is most common in men and those over the age of 55. It’s frequently caused by tobacco use (smoking or chewing), alcohol and betel quid (“paan”). About seven out of 10 people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Another leading cause of oral cancer, especially in younger people and nonsmokers, is the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is now associated with 9,000 head and neck cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. If caught during its early stages, the 5-year survival rate is 84%. If caught later, the survival rate drops to 39%.