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Oral Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Overview

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Magnitude of Effect: Not well quantified. It accounts for a small but increasing proportion of oral cancers.

Study Design: Case-control studies.
Internal Validity: Good.
Consistency: Good.
External Validity: Good.

Sun exposure

Based on fair evidence, carcinoma of the lip, predominantly the lower lip, is associated with sun exposure.[12,13,14]

Magnitude of Effect: Not well quantified due to wide confidence intervals.

Study Design: Case-control studies.
Internal Validity: Fair.
Consistency: Small number of studies make consistency difficult to assess.
External Validity: Fair.

Interventions Associated With a Decreased Risk of Oral Cancer

Avoidance of tobacco

Based on solid evidence, avoidance or cessation of exposure to tobacco (e.g., cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco) would lead to a decrease in oral cancer.

Magnitude of Effect: Decreased risk, moderate to large magnitude.

Study Design: Cohort or case-control studies.
Internal Validity: Good.
Consistency: Good.
External Validity: Good.

Interventions With Inadequate Evidence as to Whether They Reduce the Risk of Oral Cancer

Avoidance of alcohol

Although alcohol use is a risk factor for oral cancer and, by inference, its avoidance would lead to fewer cases, there is inadequate empiric evidence that cessation of alcohol use decreases the risk of oral cancer.

Magnitude of Effect: Decreased risk, moderate magnitude.

Study Design: Evidence of association only, from cohort or case-control studies.
Internal Validity: Good.
Consistency: Good.
External Validity: Good.

Avoidance of HPV infection

Although infection with specific carcinogenic strains of HPV is a risk factor for (and likely causes) a subset of oral cancers and, by inference, its avoidance would lead to fewer cases, there is inadequate empiric evidence that strategies to avoid infection decrease the risk of oral cancer.

Magnitude of Effect: Not defined.

Study Design: Evidence of association only, based on case-control studies.
Internal Validity: Good.
Consistency: Good.
External Validity: Good.

Dietary factors

There is inadequate evidence to determine whether a change in diet would decrease the risk of oral cancer.

Magnitude of Effect: Not applicable (N/A).

Study Design: Evidence of association only, obtained from cohort or case-control studies.
Internal Validity: Inadequate.
Consistency: N/A.
External Validity: N/A.
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