Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oral Cancer Facts

Since this is Oral Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to start and end the month with some thoughts on this collection of cancers. I was recently asked to talk about oral cancer on one of our local television stations and so I contacted the Oral Cancer Foundation for some information. I talked with their Director who is an oral cancer survivor of 11 years. He was a pleasant person to speak with and had lots of valuable information to share. Among his statistics:
  1. 110 people every day are diagnosed with an oral cancer
  2. 1 person dies every hour of every day from oral cancer
  3. Anecdotally, on the oral cancer foundation survivor list, about 1/3 are under 30 years of age
  4. There seems to be a correlation with the HPV virus and oral cancers
  5. In 2007 oral cancers rose 11%
  6. Survival rate is good if found early, but overall about a 55% survival after 5 years
The signs of possible oral cancer lesions inside your mouth include both “raised” and “sunken” lesions, changes in coloration, hardening lesions and lesions that bleed easily. These changes should have been present at least 14 days before you start to worry, and your dentist is a great place to start for a diagnosis.

Always feel free to talk to your dentist about what to watch for and ways to prevent oral cancer.