Oral Cancer Awareness Resources

Are you currently screening for oral cancer risk factors and incidence?

The American Cancer Society estimates the incidence of new oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers will exceed 54,000 this year. According to the CDC, human papillomavirus (HPV) is now associated with approximately 9,000 cases of the head and neck (specifically those occurring on the dorsal aspect of the tongue and in and around tonsils). 

Knowing the top risk factors, providing oral cancer examinations and educating parents on the benefits of the HPV vaccine can be vital in early detection and prevention.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Persistent sore throat
  • A lump or thickening in the oral soft tissues
  • Hoarseness
  • A change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, moving jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable

Signs and symptoms that persist for two weeks or more merit further investigation, such as biopsy or referral.

To find additional resources and review the ADA policy on early detection, please visit ADA oral cancer resources.

Top 5 Risks for Oral Cancer

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Tobacco Use
  • Alcohol Use
  • Gender
  • Age



The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention hosted a webinar series, Preventing HPV Cancers in Action, as part of Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April. 
  • Part 1: The Critical Role of the Dentist
  • Part 2: Dentists as Vaccinators