- Oral cancer kills one American every hour. Roughly 24 people per day.
- Approximately 42,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013. Growing close to 60,000 cases annually in 2016
- In 2013, among the 42,000 diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States, 18,000 will not be alive in five years. The mortality rate for Oral Cancer is around 50%, due to late discovery. The mortality rate has not decreased in over 3 decades.
- Oral cancer’s incidence rate has been on the rise for the last 5 years
- 40% of Oral Cancer Cases discovered this year will not fall under traditional risk factors such as older age, history of oral cancer, alcohol consumption, or smoking. Anyone is at risk and should be checked.
- Oral Cancer Cases have been linked to HPV-16 and a prior HPV infection can increase your chances of having oral cancer.
- 3 out of 4 people are infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
At your initial examination and every subsequent appointment the dentist should perform an oral cancer evaluation as a part of a complete and comprehensive examination. If you are a denture wearer it is important that you are examined for oral cancer at least annually. Each oral cancer examination should consist of a visual and tactile examination of all intraoral structures as well as the lips, perioral region and lymph nodes of the neck. The dentist may choose to augment the examination with chemical, light activated or swab techniques.
An important aspect of oral cancer detection comes from the observations of each person. Changes and abnormalities must be checked. Some of the signs of potential oral cancers are unexplained enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck, persistent sore throats, swelling of the sides of the tongue or other areas, ulcers that persist for over 2 to 3 weeks, changes in tissue color and any tissue growth. If you are experiencing any of those signs, contact your dentist immediately.