Cancer is the general term for any disease characterized by the rapid proliferation of abnormal, malignant cells in the body. Oral cancer, therefore, involves malignant cells anywhere inside the mouth, including the gums, cheeks, tongue, lips, and upper part of the throat. It is a dangerous, potentially life-threatening disease that affects more than 3 million people every year.
The main risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use. Heavy alcohol use increases a person’s risk considerably. A family history or cancer as well as excessive sun exposure are also contributing factors.