May Is National Fight Oral Cancer Month

May is the National Fight Oral Cancer Month.  The May Cover of The Journal of the American Dental Association magazine (JADA) is about oral cancer.  Below is an excerpt from the article.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that there would be 35,720 new cases of cancer of the oral and pharyngeal region in the United States in 2009, with 7,600 deaths from the disease.1 When focusing specifically on the oral cavity, ACS estimated that in 2009, there would be 23,110 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity (hereafter referred to as “oral cancer”) and 5,370 deaths. Nearly 90 percent of these malignancies are squamous cell carcinomas. More than 97 percent of U.S. cases of these cancers occur among adults 35 years and older. Although the incidence rate (IR) of oral and pharyngeal cancers is decreasing overall, the IR of cancers of the tongue, oropharynx and tonsil is increasing. The 2002–2006 age-adjusted (to the 2000 U.S. population) IR of oral and pharyngeal cancers in the United States was 10.3 per 100,000 per year. The age-adjusted IR was more than twice as high among men (15.9) as among women (6.0), as was the mortality rate (men, 4.0; women, 1.5).

Among the groups described in data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program, African-American men are at the highest risk of developing oral and pharyngeal cancers of any group in the United States (IR 16.7 per 100,000 per year). The five-year relative survival rate varies widely by stage at the time of diagnosis, from 81.8 percent for patients diagnosed in localized stages and 52.1 percent for patients with regional lymph node involvement to 26.5 percent for patients with distant metastasis. Yet, oral and pharyngeal cancer is diagnosed at a localized stage in only one-third of patients in the United States. The overall five-year relative survival rate for the 1999–2005 period was 61.0 percent and varied significantly by race (62.4 percent for white men and 38.2 percent for black men). Much of the racial disparity in survival rates was due to the greater proportion of tumors diagnosed at late stages among black men than among white men.

Click here for the full PDF of the ADA article on oral cancer.


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