Oral Cancer Facts.
Oral cancer kills one American every hour annually.
42,000 people were diagnosed in 2013 in the US, out of a population of 380 Million this is thankfully only 0.13%.
However the incidence has increased the last 5 Years in a row which is a trend that other cancers thankfully do not show with most declining.
Oral Cancer Mortality Rates are also higher than Cervical, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Laryngeal and Testicular cancer to name a few.
Most Cancers are picked up visually in Dental Exams or the now annual Oral Screenings. Unfortunately most Cancers at this stage are Stage III or IV reflected in the Mortality rates.
Oral Cancer Diagnosed USA :
2011 25,000, 2012 32,000, 2013 42,000
Cervical Cancer Diagnosed 2013 10,300
From these figures We Can See that it’s an Issue needing to be addressed.
Oral Cancer Risks.
60% of Cancers are diagnosed in 4 Risk areas.
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption. ( Alcohol in Mouthwash )
- Smoking. ( Including Smoke Free e.g Oral Snuff/Tobacco)
- Age : 40 Years +
- Previous Cancer Experience.
A New 5th area gives rise to increasing concern HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), I’ll devote the next page to this.
Also be Aware that 40% of cases are not related to the risk factors above, Thus we all need to be aware.
In general Men are Twice as likely this to develop than Women.
Stage I/II : 80/90% Survival over 5 Years.
Stage III : 56% Survival over 5 Years
Stage IV : 34% Survival over 5 Years.
Thus it is Early Diagnosis and not Surgery, Radiation or Chemotherapy that is likely to influence Surviving a diagnosis of Oral Cancer.
The Human Papilloma Virus is a virus that can infect the epithelial cells of Skin and Mucosa. Three out of 4 people will be infected in their lifetime and luckily 99% of these clear without consequence.
2 Particular strains out of about 200 strains of HPV,
HPV 16 and HPV 18 cause both Cervical and Oral/OroPharyngeal cancers.
There is a Vaccine Gardasil that can prevent infection.
This risk factor is the one growing at an alarming rate.
It needs to be addressed by both the Medical and Dental community and also Us as parents with Teenagers and Young Adults. We need to have that uncomfortable talk that Sexual Contact can pass on the Virus even through the so called “Safe Sex” that many young people believe Oral Sex to be can result in contracting HPV and Oral Cancer.
If You require further details on this Speak with Dr Seward, We have brochures dealing with this area and You can get further information from www.oralcancerfoundation.org
As pointed out earlier the incidence is low but growing.
The most important thing is early diagnosis and now We can introduce the latest equipment in detecting Oral Cancer earlier. We can now Screen with Fluorescence which can detect abnormalities in the Oral Mucosa using a small Laser Torch. It’s quick ( 2/3 Minutes ), Non Invasive ( just Shine it on the Mucosa ) and totally painless.
While it’s not diagnostic of a cancer it has been proven to pick up Stage I and Stage II lesions thus increasing survival rates.
We can incorporate this into Your annual Mouth Exam to bring more certainty and potentially save lives.
Sometimes we will repeat the Exam 2 Weeks later as often burns or trauma show as suspicious and repeating will usually show this cleared up. In cases where We are concerned We will refer for Specialist advice and any necessary treatment.
Please don’t hesitate to ask Dr Seward for advice, Queries in any matter regarding Oral Cancer.
We’re proud to be the 1st Dental Practice outside the USA
to offer Oral ID technology.