Each year in the United States alone, approximately 36,000 individuals are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. If you add throat cancers to the number (which have the same risk factors), that number will increase to about 48,000 people. The death rate from oral cancer is very high; about 43% of those diagnosed will not survive more than five years. While these statistics are alarming, this high death reate is directly related to two factors. These may be directly influenced by your choices.
The first is to be aware. Knowing that lifestyle choices you make, such as tobacco use and other risk factors listed below, are causes of this disease. Avoidance of risk factors greatly reduces your chances of developing oral and throat cancers. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the disease is also part of awareness. It is one that will help you decide to seek professional advice should you recognize the symptoms in yourself. Just by reading this webpage you are engaging in an educational process that will keep you, and those you share the information with, aware and educated about the disease.
Early detection is the second factor that will reduce your risk. Once knowledgable, you will wish to engage in a regular annual screening to look for signs and symptoms, ensuring early detection. Most oral cancer can be caught early, even as pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high, and side effects from treatment are at their lowest. These screenings are painless, quick, and inexpensive. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon, and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make them a part of your annual health checkups.