Each year, more than 30,000 Americans receive an oral cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, less than 57 percent will live beyond five years. In fact, the death rate for oral cancer is higher than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, brain cancer, and liver cancer. Usually seen in older patients, oral cancer in individuals under 40 is on the rise.
Fast Facts about Oral Cancer
• Early detection increases the survival rate to almost 90 percent.
• Initially, oral cancer patients may have few obvious symptoms of the illness.
• Certain factors, such as gender, lifestyle choices, and age can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. An estimated 25 percent of oral cancer patients, however, have no risk factors for the disease.
• Famous people who have battled oral cancer include Michael Douglas, Roger Ebert, Aaron Spelling, Humphrey Bogart, Eddie Van Halen, and Babe Ruth.
• Signs of oral cancer include a sore that does not heal after two weeks, color change in oral tissue, hoarse or scratchy throat, and difficulty with chewing or swallowing.
• Side effects of oral cancer may include chronic discomfort, loss of oral function, and difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
• Research suggests that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases your chances of developing cancerous lesions.
• Routine dental visits allow your dentist to look for signs of oral cancer, which can lead to early detection if there is a problem.
• Tobacco and alcohol use can result in a 75 percent chance of receiving an oral cancer diagnosis.
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