Rare Rheumatology News

Disease Profile

Oral cancer

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable



Rare Cancers


Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth, lips, and oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of the mouth). Most cases are designated as squamous cell carcinomas because they begin in the flat cells (squamous cells) that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue, and lips.[1] About 42,000 individuals in the United Stated are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Most cases occur in people over age 40. Men are twice as likely to be affected as women.[2] The use of alcohol and/or tobacco is associated with approximately 75 percent of oral cancers.[1] Other risk factors include HPV, a sexually transmitted disease; increasing age; sun exposure; and a poor diet. Treatment for oral cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy.[1]


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Organizations Providing General Support

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
      • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
      • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
      • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.
      • The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), purposes to improve oral, dental and craniofacial health through research, research training, and the dissemination of health information. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
      • Cancer.Net, a resource from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, provides information about oral cancer. Click on the above link to access this information.
      • The American Cancer Society provides information about oral cancer. Click on the link to access this information.

        Selected Full-Text Journal Articles

        • Kademani D. Oral cancer. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2007 Jul;82(7):878-887.


          1. What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer. National Cancer Institute. 2009; https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/wyntk-oral.pdf.
          2. Oral Cancer. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. August 2014; https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/OralCancer/OralCancer.htm.