EARLY Detection Saves Lives! Dentists are the frontline and the best overall defense against oral cancer.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a broad term that includes cancers of the lips, tongue, mouth and throat. In general, it is an abnormal growth of cells in any one of these sites and has the potential to spread to other areas of the body.
About Oral Cancer
You may be surprised to learn that one American dies every hour from oral cancer; a death rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years. Oral cancer can go unnoticed until it has progressed to later stages. Recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society indicate that while the incidence and death rates for cancers overall has decreased, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5% and the death rate has increased by 1.5%. Oral Cancer KILLS as many people as melanoama, and is now more common than leukemia.
Importance of Screening
As with any cancer, early detection and diagnosis is key; it’s important for patients to see an oral healthcare professional regularly, particularly if they are in the high-risk groups — those who use tobacco, abuse alcohol or have been exposed to HPV. Oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, III and IV, leading to a five-year survival rate of 57%.
- Twenty-five percent of all oral cancer victims are non-smokers, non-drinkers and have no other lifestyle risk factors.
- In the U.S., one person dies from oral cancer every hour. In Canada, three people die from oral cancer every day. In India, it is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths.
- Research from Johns Hopkins Hospital and other medical institutions suggests that the human papillomavirus (HPV) 16, a common sexually transmitted virus, is associated with oral cancers located in the upper throat and back of the tongue.
- According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer affects more than 35,000 people in the U.S. each year.
- Oral cancer causes 7,500 deaths each year and only slightly more than half of oral cancer patients survive five years.
- Seventy percent of oral cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage, which partially accounts for the poor five-year survival rate of approximately 60 percent.
- The five-year survival rate for patients who have localized disease at diagnosis is 82 percent compared with only 28 percent for patients whose disease has metastasized.
- The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program (SEER) and the Oral Cancer Foundation report that approximately 100 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer every day.
- Oral cancer is twice as prevalent in men as it is in women.