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

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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.

Sun avoidance and sunscreen use

There is inadequate evidence to determine whether reducing sun exposure or use of sunscreens would prevent lip cancer. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Skin Cancer Prevention for more information about sun avoidance and sunscreen use for prevention of skin cancer.)

Magnitude of Effect: N/A.

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

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.: The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Ga: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004. Available online. Last accessed January 31, 2013.
  2. National Cancer Institute.: Cigars: Health Effects and Trends. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, [1998]. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 9. Available online. Last accessed February 15, 2013.
  3. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans.: Smokeless tobacco and some tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 89: 1-592, 2007.
  4. Blot WJ, McLaughlin JK, Winn DM, et al.: Smoking and drinking in relation to oral and pharyngeal cancer. Cancer Res 48 (11): 3282-7, 1988.
  5. Altieri A, Bosetti C, Gallus S, et al.: Wine, beer and spirits and risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer: a case-control study from Italy and Switzerland. Oral Oncol 40 (9): 904-9, 2004.
  6. Talamini R, La Vecchia C, Levi F, et al.: Cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx in nonsmokers who drink alcohol and in nondrinkers who smoke tobacco. J Natl Cancer Inst 90 (24): 1901-3, 1998.
  7. Talamini R, Franceschi S, Barra S, et al.: The role of alcohol in oral and pharyngeal cancer in non-smokers, and of tobacco in non-drinkers. Int J Cancer 46 (3): 391-3, 1990.
  8. Schwartz SM, Daling JR, Doody DR, et al.: Oral cancer risk in relation to sexual history and evidence of human papillomavirus infection. J Natl Cancer Inst 90 (21): 1626-36, 1998.
  9. Mork J, Lie AK, Glattre E, et al.: Human papillomavirus infection as a risk factor for squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. N Engl J Med 344 (15): 1125-31, 2001.
  10. D'Souza G, Kreimer AR, Viscidi R, et al.: Case-control study of human papillomavirus and oropharyngeal cancer. N Engl J Med 356 (19): 1944-56, 2007.
  11. Franceschi S, Muñoz N, Bosch XF, et al.: Human papillomavirus and cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract: a review of epidemiological and experimental evidence. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 5 (7): 567-75, 1996.
  12. Pogoda JM, Preston-Martin S: Solar radiation, lip protection, and lip cancer risk in Los Angeles County women (California, United States). Cancer Causes Control 7 (4): 458-63, 1996.
  13. Silverman S Jr, ed.: Oral Cancer. 4th ed. Hamilton, Canada: BC Decker, 1998.
  14. Perea-Milla López E, Miñarro-Del Moral RM, Martínez-García C, et al.: Lifestyles, environmental and phenotypic factors associated with lip cancer: a case-control study in southern Spain. Br J Cancer 88 (11): 1702-7, 2003.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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