Oral cancer is cancer that occurs in and around the mouth. It kills 1 person every hour and it's on the rise, especially amongst young people. A leading head and neck surgeon on Dr Oz called it 'a pandemic'.
You can get oral cancer in any of the following places:
- Tongue- this is the most common place
- Inside your cheeks roof of your mouth (palate)
- Floor of your mouth (under your tongue)
- Back of your mouth (tonsils and throat)
Basically oral cancer can occur in any soft area in your mouth- that is anywhere other than your teeth. It is a particularly nasty form of cancer that you need to know about, and get checked for. The old adage 'prevention
is better than cure' has never been truer than in this situation and fortunately it is one of the easiest cancers to spot. It has an 80-90% cure rate with early diagnosis but 1 in 4 will die because they are not diagnosed and treated in time.
There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90% are squamous cell carcinomas- an especially nasty type of malignant cancer (1).
Oral cancers are currently responsible for up to 6.5 per cent of all the cancers diagnosed in Australia (2)
and are responsible for more Australian deaths than cervical cancer each year (3).
Survival rate is approximately 50% over 5 years, with early detection being the most critical factor (4).
Alarmingly according to one Australian study,1 in 3 patients delayed getting professional advice for over three months after first noticing the lesion. After reading this series I hope that won't be you. (5)
So it is time to make sure you are aware of the risk factors for oral cancer
, the signs and symptoms
and how to know if your dentist is screening you every year.