What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a particularly dangerous cancer, not because it is stronger or more difficult to treat but because it often goes undetected by the patient until it has metastasized (spread). People aren’t often looking for oral cancers in their mouth. They brush and floss and gargle and that is normally the extent of their oral hygiene. That is why it is important to see your dentist twice yearly for a complete and thorough checkup and cleaning. Read on to find out more about oral cancer.


Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth and throat and is commonly referred to as head and neck cancer. Oral cancers cause nearly 10,000 deaths annually in the U.S. One person an hour will die from oral cancer, 24 people per day. Nearly 50,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. Only fifty-seven percent of those diagnosed will survive their 5 year mark.

Are You at Risk?

Those that smoke and drink are at the greatest risk of developing oral cancer. Using either substance alone also poses a risk but not as great of a risk as when they are used together. The combination of alcohol and tobacco use increases the risk 15 times. Most oral cancers are associated which tobacco use in all of its forms including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Other risks include:

HPV: HPV is the human papillomavirus which is a sexually transmitted disease.

Sun exposure: Over exposure to the sun can cause cancer of the lip.

Age: The majority of oral cancers are found in people over the age of 40.

Oral Cancer Screenings

An oral cancer screening consists of using advanced digital imaging equipment to detect even the slightest changes in your oral tissue. Eighty-three percent of patients surpass the 5 year mark when the cancer is detected in its earliest stages.


Our team offers our patients and their family access to comprehensive dental care, including general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. To schedule an appointment with the Potach and Mitchell Dental Clinic, contact our Austin, MN dental office today by calling 507-437-6312. Our office welcomes patients from Austin, MN and surrounding communities.