Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth. It can occur in the lining of the mouth or in the deeper tissues such as the bone, muscle, and nerves. Cancer of the mouth lining is called a carcinoma and makes up 90% of all oral cancer. Cancer of the mouth is most common in people over 40 years of age, but it can occur in younger people.
Oral cancer is one of the most preventable cancers when caught early. Unfortunately, more people die from oral cancer than from cervical cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, or melanoma. This is because oral cancer is often diagnosed when it is already advanced. Early diagnosis and treatment is the most effective way to treat oral cancer. Cure rates of 90% to 100% have been reported when lip cancer is diagnosed and treated in the early stages.