April is Oral Cancer Awareness month, and with it comes a reminder of how devastating this disease can be: Close to 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day.
Oral cancer is largely viewed as a disease that affects those over the age of 40, but it can affect all ages, even non-tobacco and alcohol users. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. Our team at Knowlton Dental Associates recently put together some facts and figures to illustrate the importance of visiting our Elizabethtown, PA office.
Our friends at the American Cancer Society recommend an oral cancer screening exam every three years for people over the age of 20 and annually for those over age 40. Because early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment, be sure to ask our team to conduct an oral exam during your next visit to our Elizabethtown, PA office.
- Symptoms of oral cancer may include a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal, a red or white patch that persists, a lump or thickening, ear pain, a neck mass, or coughing up blood. Difficulties in chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaws are often late symptoms.
- The primary risk factors for oral cancer in American men and women are tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol use. Risk rises dramatically – about 15 times greater for people who both smoke and consume alcohol regularly.
- Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all head and neck cancers they comprise about 85% of that category.
- Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men.
- Oral cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition.
- Historically, about 75% of people diagnosed have been tobacco users.
- The risk of developing oral cavity and pharynx cancers increases both with the amount as well as the length of time tobacco and alcohol products are used.
- The five-year relative survival rate is 57%
- It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States annually on treatment of head and neck cancers.
Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, our team at Knowlton Dental Associates can often detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage, when treatment is both less extensive and more successful.
The Oral Cancer Foundation. (2019). Oral Cancer Facts. Retrieved from http://oralcancerfoundation.org/