A comprehensive review of oral cancer

Gen Dent. Jan-Feb 2001;49(1):72-82.


Oral squamous cell carcinomas comprise 2-3% of all new malignancies diagnosed in the United States, making it the 10th most common malignancy. However, for the last few decades, the average five-year survival rate of 50% has not changed significantly. This article reviews the risk factors associated with the development of oral cancer and how premalignant (leukoplakia and erythroplakia) and actual cancerous lesions may appear. Diagnostic tools and aids to diagnosis are discussed, as are treatment modalities. It is imperative that all dental professionals perform a simple head and neck examination in addition to an oral examination during each new patient visit and each six-month recall appointment. Early detection saves lives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Areca / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Erythroplasia / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Precancerous Conditions / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Social Class
  • Sunlight / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate