INTRODUCTION Cancer of the oral cavity (Oral cancer) is the 11th most common malignancy in the world. Despite the general global trend of a slight decrease in the incidence of oral cancer, tongue cancer incidence is increasing. The incidence and mortality caused by this tumor show variability according to the geographic location in which it is diagnosed. However, in the last decade an increase was observed in the percentage of young patients, especially patients with tongue cancer. The main risk factors of head and neck cancer worldwide are smoking and alcohol, as well as DNA oncogenic viruses and habits, such as betel nut. METHODS Data were collected from worldwide databases, such as Survival Epidemiology and End Result (SEER), The National Center of Health Statistics (NCHS) and GLOBCAN (2012) IARC. RESULTS In 2012, 369,200 new cases of oral cancer were reported worldwide, with two-thirds of the tumors diagnosed in developing countries. These tumors are responsible for approximately 145,328 deaths worldwide per year. The highest incidence of these cancers is mainly reported in South and Southeast Asia and some countries in southern Europe. Prevalence and clinical pattern of OSCC varies greatly, depending on geographical location while diagnosed. DISCUSSION As described in our review, the incidence of and mortality due to oral tumors pose a significant health problem in many aspects all around the world, and differences exist in the behavior of these tumors. We witnessed more cases of anterior tongue cancers mainly affecting the young age patient group. Several countries in Europe showed a significant increase in oral cancer prevalence, such as in Germany. Studies have reported an alarming lack of awareness about oral cancer, its symptoms, causes, and these gaps in knowledge need to be addressed by further public education, possibly targeted to high-risk groups. With the awareness to risk factors, primary prevention through the elimination of tobacco consumption, moderation of alcohol intake and chemoprevention are urgently needed.