All risk factors for oral cancer are not known; in fact, nearly 25% of cases of oral cancer are not associated with any suspected risk factor. The following conditions can increase your chance of developing mouth cancer:
- Age – oral cancer is more frequent among people aged 50 or over.
- Gender – men are twice more affected by oral cancer than women. This difference, however, have begun to decline because of growing number of women who smoke and/or heavily consume alcohol.
- Smoking – cigarette smoke is considered as the prime factor of oral cancer; the risk is much greater when tobacco is associated with alcohol abuse.
- Alcohol – moderate alcohol consumption represents no risk; excessive alcohol use, especially in combination with smoking, is a major cause of mouth cancer.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight – overexposing your lip to sunlight can cause formation of cancerous cells in its tissue.
- Infection – poorly or untreated human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may provoke formation of a malignancy in your mouth.
- Radiotherapy – radiation treatments in the head or neck area can damage healthy cells in your mouth and cause them to turn into cancerous.