General Features

Cancer of the mouth accounts for approximately 4% of cancers in men and 2% in women and is the sixth most common form of cancer worldwide.1 In some countries such as India, as much as one-half of all new cancers are those arising in the mouth. Although there are a number of malignancies that may arise in the oral cavity, squamous cell carcinomas are the most significant accounting for 90% of all cancers in this site. Deaths due to oral and oropharyngeal cancer represent approximately 2% of the total in men and 1% of the total in women. The total number of annual cases of oral cancer in the US is estimated to be 35,000 and annual deaths as high as 9,500. Unfortunately, despite the relative increases in the survival of patients with cancers at other sites, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer has stubbornly remained at about 40% for the past several decades.