Oral Cancer Awareness Month
Oral Cancer Facts
-Expected to have approximately 42,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in 2013 alone.
-Males account for almost 70% of all new cases.
Survival Rates of Oral Cancer
1 year – 89% survival
5 year – 56% survival
10 year – 41% survival
-Approximtely 8,000 deaths per year from oral cancer.
Age 0-44 – 9%
Age 45-54 – 20%
Age 55-64 – 29%
Age 65-74 – 21%
Over Age 75 – 21%
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
-Family History of Cancer
-Presence of HPV-16 Virus
–Smoking Tobacco – Increases risk by a factor of 6.
-Alcohol Consumption – Increases risk by a factor of 6.
–Chewing Tobacco – Increases risk by a factor of 50!
-25% of all new oral cancer cases are patients who never smoke and only drink on occasion (or never). This is where the biggest growth of new oral cancer cases is occurring.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
-White or red patches.
-Long term earache that never seems to go away.
-Sores in mouth that never heal.
-Lumps in head and neck area.
-Numbness of jaw or surrounding tissues.
-Pain upon swallowing.
Early Diagnosis Is The Key To Beating Oral Cancer
The earlier the cancer diagnosis is made and the quicker treatment is begun, the better chance for a successful long term prognosis from oral cancer. Oral cancer will spread very quickly and needs to be found early in its localized state before it progresses to other parts of the head and neck as well as the rest of the body.
The tool of choice in early diagnosis of oral cancer by many dentists is the VELscope. The Velscope uses a special light that can distinguish normal healthy tissue from precancerous and cancerous tissues. The VELscope examination takes about 1-2 minutes (and is non invasive!) and has literally saved thousands of lives. There are currently about 10,000-12,000 VELscopes in the United States alone. Make sure your dentist has a VELscope to ensure you are getting proper dental care for the possibility of oral cancer development.