What Is Oral Cancer?
Mouth cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth (oral cavity). Mouth cancer can occur on the: Lips Gums, Tongue, Inner lining of the cheeks, Roof of the mouth, under the tongue. Mouth cancer is one of several types of cancers grouped in a category called head and neck cancers and has the potential to spread to other areas of the body.
Importance of Screening
Early detection and diagnosis is a key to cancer survival; 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.
Surprising But Deadly Statistics of Oral Cancer
- 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.
- 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. One person dies from oral cancer every hour in the United States of America. In Canada, three people die from oral cancer every day. In India, it is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths.
- 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.
When to see a doctor
If you notice any of the listed symptoms below;
- A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal
- A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
- Loose teeth
- A growth or lump inside your mouth
- Mouth pain
- Ear pain
- Difficult or painful swallowing
With the above chilling details and statistics it expedient that you See your dentist regularly. As part of a routine dental exam, ask your dentist to inspect your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes.