About 73% of oral cancer in Alberta is linked to factors we can change.

That's about 273 cases we could prevent each year — if we work together.

Why is the impact of Oral Cancer important to Albertans?

Oral cancer is the 13th most common cancer in Alberta1.
About 375 adults were diagnosed in 20122.
  • Oral cancer includes cancer of the lip, tongue, gums, cheek and mouth.
  • Oral cancer is much more common in men than in women. In fact, about 3 out of 4 people who develop oral cancer are men.
  • The risk of getting oral cancer begins to rise at about age 45. The rate rises more quickly for men than for women.

What can I do?

Experts in Alberta agree that we can prevent about 73 out of 100 cases of oral cancer2. Here’s how:

Tobacco smoking is linked to about 43% of new cases. Tobacco has cancer-causing toxins (called carcinogens) that damage cells in the mouth and lip. Over time, the damaged cells can turn into cancer. You can lower your risk for oral cancer when you quit using tobacco or cut down.

HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is linked to about 25% of new cases. You can lower your risk of HPV infection by getting vaccinated. Learn more about HPV, its link to cancer, and ways to lower your risk.

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables is linked to about 25% of new cases. The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) recommend eating at least 5 servings (400 g) of non-starchy vegetables and fruit every day3 to help prevent cancer.

Drinking alcohol is linked to about 17% of new cases. When it comes to preventing cancer, there is no safe amount of alcohol. For people who choose to drink alcohol, the WCRF/AICR recommend4 that men have no more than 2 drinks a day and women no more than 1 drink a day.

How to reduce your risk of Oral Cancer

Eat Healthy

We could prevent about 810 cases of cancer in Alberta each year – if we support each other to eat better.

Prevent HPV Infections

Almost 100% of cervical cancer cases are caused by infections of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Several other cancers can be caused by HPV too.

Live Tobacco Free

We could prevent about 2,485 cases of cancer in Alberta each year – if we support each other to be tobacco free.

Drink Less Alcohol

We could prevent up to about 617 cases of cancer in Alberta each year – if we support each other to drink less alcohol.