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Oral Cancer Fact #4

Historically, oral cancer has been most likely to occur after the age of 50. However, the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population are people in the 25-50 year old age range. Evidence from leading cancer centers shows that most of this younger group are non-smokers. These patients represent a completely different etiology for getting the cancer from the historical tobacco and heavy alcohol users, and that is from an oncogenic virus, HPV16. This is the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers. Evidence indicates that this virus can be sexually transmitted between partners, and accounts for the increase in young, non-smoking victims of oral cancer who do not fall into the historical tobacco risk factor group.