The Truth About Oral Cancer Contagion

Is oral cancer communicable, or does head and neck cancer travel from person to person? This is one of the most significant inquiries patients and their loved ones make.

No, that’s not the case. Oral cancer cannot be spread from one person to another.

Is oral cancer contagious?

Cancer cannot spread via close contacts, such as touching, eating meals together, or sitting next to people living with cancer.

People should be aware that if they have a history of head and neck cancer in their families, they are at an increased risk of developing the disease themselves. Thus, genetic alterations may cause cancer, which makes it heritable.

Symptoms of oral cancer

The following are some of the most typical signs and symptoms of oral cancer: 

  • Persistent, non-healing mouth sores
  • Chronic mouth pain
  • A cheek bump or thickening
  • A white or red spot on the tonsil, tongue, gums, or mouthline
  • Having a continuous aching throat or sensation as if something is in your throat
  • Having trouble eating or swallowing
  • Having difficulty moving the mouth or jaw
  • Numbness in the tongue or another oral region
  • Jaw swelling that causes dentures to be uncomfortable or poorly fitted
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Teeth or jaw pain
  • Changes in voice
  • A neck lump
  • Loss of weight
  • Having chronic foul breath

The individual should get immediate medical attention from a head and neck cancer expert if they have any of these symptoms.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for the development of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking: Oral cancers are six times more common in those who smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes than in people who don’t.
  • Using smokeless tobacco: The risk of developing malignancies of the face, gums, and lip lining is 50 times higher in those who use dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Compared to non-drinkers, drinkers have an oral cancer prevalence of around six times higher. Consuming both alcohol and smoking at the same time raises your risk even more.
  • Cancer running in the family
  • Overexposure to the sunlight, particularly when young: Sunlight’s UV rays have been linked to an increased risk of lip cancer.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) has etiologic risk factors associated with specific HPV strains. Most people who engage in sexual activity will eventually get HPV. 

Growing numbers of apparently healthy men under 50 are developing oral sex-related malignancies in their throats and backs due to a particular strain of this virus.

Your risk increases the more persons you and your spouse have sex with.

  • Age: Years may pass before oral cancer develops. After age 55, most individuals discover they have it. But malignancies related to HPV are developing in younger men.
  • Gender: Oral cancer strikes males at least twice as often as women. It might be due to the higher alcohol and tobacco usage among males.
  • An unhealthy diet: Oral cancer and inadequate fruit and vegetable intake have been linked in studies.

Also Read- Early Stage Mouth Cancer


The same methods used to treat other cancers are used to treat oral cancer: surgery to remove the malignant growth is followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy (drug therapies) to eradicate any cancer cells that may have survived.

Aside from that, targeted treatment and immunotherapy may also be employed depending on the severity of the sickness.


Getting rid of the myths that head and neck cancer or mouth cancer may transmit from one person to another while engaging in regular activities is important.

If caught early enough, oral cancer is entirely treatable. People must be informed about head and neck cancers to take the necessary precautions, raise awareness of the condition, and reduce the stigma associated with cancer.

  • About Author

    Dr. Amit Chakraborty

    Cancer Surgeon

Dr. Amit Chakraborty is a Surgical Oncologist in Girgaon, Mumbai and has an experience of 15 years in this field. He is a well known cancer specialist with an expertise in diagnosing and treating head and neck cancer.

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