Oral Cancer Statistics

Oral Cancer used to be an old man’s disease, tied to tobacco and alcohol. Those are still recognized causes, but today, everyone, including young women and men, are oral cancergetting this deadly disease.

Dentists say, “Just as we’ve gotten used to annual PSA tests, mammograms and Pap smears, we should be getting annual oral cancer exams.”

* 25% of cases affect people with no known risk factors.
* Historically, 75% of cases were related to tobacco or alcohol use.
* Oral cancer is as common as leukemia and claims more lives than either melanoma or cervical cancer.
* The 5-year survival rate is only 57%, and the 10-year rate is under 50%.
* It’s horribly disfiguring and painful, unless it’s detected early.
* Sigmund Freud, Babe Ruth, John Gotti and President Grover Cleveland had it.
* Cigar smoking increased 250% from 1993 to 1998, and heavy cigar use is particularly associated with oral cancer development.
* Marijuana appears to cause oral cancer, particularly in younger patients.
* Sexually transmitted HPV is an additional cause of oral cancer; HPV strains have been implicated in half of oropharyngeal cancers; the CDC says nearly 25 million women are infected with some form of HPV.
* U.S. African-Americans and Caucasians, who have the highest oral cancer rates, are most likely to develop cancer of the tongue; those of Southeast Asian descent are more likely to develop the disease in the inner cheek; Filipino-American women have the highest incidence of cancer of the palate.

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