Lifetime risk

  • The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with mouth cancer is around 1 in 55 (2%) for males, and 1 in 108 (less than 1%) for females born after 1960 in the UK.

Smoking

  • Around one in six (17%) mouth cancers are directly caused by smoking.
  • The risk of being diagnosed with mouth cancer for a smoker is almost double (91%) that of a never-smoker.
  • Mouth cancer risk is 35% lower in ex-smokers who quit 1-4 years previously, compared with current smokers.
  • Mouth cancer risk is no higher in ex-smokers who quit 20+ years previously, compared with never-smokers.
  • Mouth cancer risk is around 3 times higher in bidi smokers compared with bidi never-smokers.

Smokeless tobacco

  • Mouth cancer risk is up to four and a half times higher in smokeless tobacco users. This risk may be higher in females and for users of chewing types of smokeless tobacco.

Alcohol

  • Those who drink more than 10 units of alcohol a week could be increasing the risk of mouth cancer by 81%.
  • Drinking alcohol to excess is linked to around a third (34%) of all mouth cancers.
  • If you both smoke and drink to excess it can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer can be tripple.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) type-16 and 18 are linked to around three in four (73%) oropharyngeal cancers and more
     than one in ten (12%) oral cavity and hypopharynx cancers.

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)

  • Mouth cancer risk is 87% higher in never-smokers who have ever been exposed to ETS at home or work, compared with unexposed never-smokers.

  • Mouth cancer risk is more than twice higher in never-smokers exposed to ETS at home or work for 15+ years, compared with unexposed never-smokers.

    Infections

    • Mouth cancer risk is around twice higher in people with HIV/AIDS, compared with the general population.

    Organ transplant

    • Mouth cancer risk is 2-5 times higher in organ transplant recipients compared with the general population.

    Family history

    • Mouth cancer risk could be up to 70% higher in people with a family (particularly sibling) history of mouth cancer, versus those without such history, a pooled analysis showed.