According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, thousands of people will die every year due to oral cancer. What is astounding, is that many of these deaths could have been prevented. Here are some oral cancer statistics and risk factors you shouldn’t ignore.
- Nearly 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year
- Approximately 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day someone dies from oral cancer. That roughly comes to 9,750 deaths a year.
- Little more than half of the 49,750 will be alive in 5 years (about 57%)
- 40% of cancer could be avoided with lifestyle changes.
Oral cavity cancer, or just oral cancer, is cancer that starts in the mouth (also called the oral cavity). The oral cavity includes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the hard palate (bony roof of the mouth), and the area behind the wisdom teeth can be included, although it is often considered part of the oropharynx.
Risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use (85% of all oral cancers are linked to tobacco use)
- Frequent alcohol use
- Fair skinned people are more likely to develop lip cancer
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
- Gender (males are more likely to develop oral cancer than females)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Excessive, or prolonged sun exposure
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Marijuana use
More Stunning Oral Cancer Statistics
The five-year survival rate for oral cancer has remained the same for many decades. In large part, this is believed to be because many patients are unaware they have the disease. Many do not discover the cancer until very late in its development, allowing it additional time to spread (metastasize) into nearby areas such as lymph nodes and other structures. As with any form of cancer, early detection and treatment is critical for achieving the best outcomes. Below are some early warning signs you shouldn’t ignore:
- Thickening skin or a lump on the inside of your mouth cavity
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
- Numbness in our face, neck, or mouth
- The feeling that something is caught in your throat
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Loose teeth
- A persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Ear pain
- A bad taste in your mouth or persistent bad breath
Treatment for oral cancer may involve a mix of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, depending on the stage at diagnosis. These methods are most effective when the cancer is detected early. If you or a loved one have any of these symptoms or you want to find out more about oral cancer or any other dental health topic, please call (724) 452-4300 or schedule an appointment online today. Dr. Mark A. Marion has been selected as one of America’s Best Dentists by the International Association of Dentists. Come see what unmatched dental care can do for you.