April is Oral Cancer Awareness month. Dr. Barmby and Dr. Frick know that most people are not aware of the statistics associated with Oral Cancer. Approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with Oral Cancer this year alone. And as you are well aware, your dentist is often the first line of defense against oral cancer, through the process of early detection and discovery.
Oral Cancer will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 42,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about on a regular basis such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma). Although smoking and tobacco use is still a major risk factor for Oral Cancer, the fastest growing segment for Oral Cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus.
If you broaden the definition of oral cancers to include cancer of the larynx, for which the risk factors are the same, the numbers of diagnosed cases grow to approximately 54,000 individuals and 13,500 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide the problem is much greater, with over 640,000 new cases being found each year. Oral Cancers are part of a group of cancers frequently referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all head and neck cancers they comprise about 85% of that category. Brain cancer is a cancer category unto itself, and is not included in the head and neck cancer group.
For more information call Dr. Barmby and Dr. Frick at (925) 934-5526 or schedule an appointment online.
Dr. Barmby and Dr. Frick also proudly serve Alamo, Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, and surrounding areas.