Nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal cancer each year. It is responsible for close to 10,000 deaths per year and is the 8th most common cancer in men. The overall five-year survival is around 57% which is worse than many cancers that are more well known and more feared such as melanoma and breast cancer.
There are now two subpopulations which are at higher risk for oral and oropharyngeal cancers. The “traditional” population includes older males who smoke and drink. The “non-traditional” population includes younger males with no history of smoking or drinking. The etiology of this latter subpopulation of squamous cell carcinoma is related to the high risk human papillomavirus subtypes, the same viruses that causes cervical cancer in women.