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Why is the impact of Oral Cancer important to Albertans?

Oral cancer is the 13th most common cancer in Alberta.1
About 375 adults were diagnosed in 2012.2

  • Oral cancer includes cancer of the lip, tongue, gums, cheek and mouth.
  • Oral cancer is much more common in men than in women. In fact, about 3 out of 4 people who develop oral cancer are men.
  • The risk of getting oral cancer begins to rise at about age 45. The rate rises more quickly for men than for women.

What can I do?

Experts in Alberta agree that we can prevent about 73 out of 100 cases of oral cancer.2 Here’s how:

Tobacco smoking is linked to about 43% of new cancer cases.

Tobacco has cancer-causing toxins (called carcinogens) that damage cells in the mouth and lip. Over time, the damaged cells can turn into cancer. You can lower your risk for oral cancer when you quit using tobacco or cut down.

HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is linked to about 25% of new cases. You can lower your risk of HPV infection by getting vaccinated. Learn more about HPV, its link to cancer, and ways to lower your risk.

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables is linked to about 25% of new cases. The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) recommend eating at least 5 servings (400 g) of non-starchy vegetables and fruit every day3 to help prevent cancer.

Drinking alcohol is linked to about 17% of new cases. When it comes to preventing cancer, there is no safe amount of alcohol. For people who choose to drink alcohol, the WCRF/AICR recommend4 that men have no more than 2 drinks a day and women no more than 1 drink a day.

More information on oral cancer symptoms, diagnosis and treatment at MyHealth Alberta.

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