Oral Cancer Facts and Figures

It’s commonly thought that oral cancer affects people over the age of 40, but that’s not true. Oral cancer can affect people of all ages, even non-tobacco and alcohol users. This form of cancer can show up on the tongue, gums, lips, inside lining of the cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth.

Because early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment, our friends at the American Cancer Society recommend an oral cancer screening exam every three years for people over the age of 20 and annually for those over age 40. Be sure to ask Dr. James Wells and our team to conduct an oral exam during your next visit to our Morehead City, NC office.

Our team at Wells Family Dentistry recently put together some facts and figures to illustrate the importance of visiting our Morehead City, NC office.

  • Men and women who partake in tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol use regularly are 30% more likely to get oral cancer in their lifetime.

  • Symptoms of oral cancer may include:

  • a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal

  • a red or white patch that persists

  • a lump or thickening

  • ear pain

  • a neck mass

  • coughing up blood

  • Difficulties in chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaws are often late symptoms.

  • Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men.

  • About 75% to 80% of people with oral cavity and pharynx cancer consume alcohol.

  • Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all head and neck cancers they comprise about 85% of that category.

  • Oral cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age; however there is an increasing number of young people who are developing the condition.

  • Death rates from oral cancer have decreased over the past three decades; from 2004 to 2008, rates decreased by 1.2% per year in men and by 2.2% per year in women, according to the American Cancer Society.

  • The risk of developing oral cavity and pharynx cancers increases with the amount and the length of time tobacco and alcohol products are used.

  • For all stages combined, about 84% of people with oral cancer survive one year after diagnosis. The five- and ten-year relative survival rates are 61% and 50%, respectively.

  • Approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States annually on treatment of head and neck cancers.

Cancer can affect any part of your body; including any part of your oral cavity like the lips, tongue, mouth or throat. Dr. James Wells and our team at Wells Family Dentistry can detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at any state through visual inspection.

Please let us now if you have any questions about your oral health either during your next scheduled appointment, by giving us a call or asking us on Facebook.

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