Oral, head, and neck cancers claim approximately 13,000 lives per year. However, if diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications and the chances of survival increase greatly.
Every adult should get screened. Tobacco and/or alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers. However, oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke, and recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV-related oral, head, and neck cancers are more difficult to detect because these cancers usually occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, providing even more reason to get screened regularly.