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Cancer Risk from Oral Precancerous Lesions Higher in Non-Smokers

March 9, 2018
by The University of British Columbia


Precancerous lesions in the mouths of non-smokers are more likely to progress to cancer than those in smokers, new research from the University of British Columbia and BC Cancer has found.

Although tobacco use is still one of the strongest risk factors associated with mouth cancers, UBC dentistry PhD candidate Leigha Rock found that oral precancerous lesions in non-smokers are more than twice as likely to progress to cancer. Furthermore, lesions in non-smokers progressed to cancer faster than smoking-associated lesions. The study was published this week in Oral Oncology.

“This is the first published study where the main focus was to examine the difference in risk of progression to oral cancer between non-smokers and smokers with oral precancerous lesions,” said Rock, lead author of the study and a clinical research coordinator with BC Cancer.

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