STATISTICS 

 

Approximately 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Over the course of a year, they will take over 9,750 lives. 

That is one life every hour of every day in the year. This number has not significantly improved in several decades. Oral cancer takes more lives than cervical cancer, testicular cancer, skin cancer (malignant melanoma), Hodgkin's lymphoma, among several other forms of cancer which we commonly hear about. If you expand 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 more than 41,000 individuals, and 12,500 deaths per year in the US alone. Worldwide, the problem is much greater, with over 400,000 new cases being found each year. 

The death rate is particularly high, due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Often, it is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra oral area. Besides the metastasis, at these later stages, the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures. Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms they might readily recognize, and because it has a high risk of producing second, primary tumors. This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease have up to a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer. This heightened risk factor can last for 5 to 10 years after the first occurrence. There are several types of oral cancers, but roughly 90% are squamous cell carcinomas.

That is one life every hour of every day in the year. This number has not significantly improved in several decades. Oral cancer takes more lives than cervical cancer, testicular cancer, skin cancer (malignant melanoma), Hodgkin's lymphoma, among several other forms of cancer which we commonly hear about. If you expand 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 more than 41,000 individuals, and 12,500 deaths per year in the US alone. Worldwide, the problem is much greater, with over 400,000 new cases being found each year. 
 

US Oral Cancer Facts At-A-Glance:

  • The high mortality rate associated with oral cancer is due to late stage diagnosis.1
  • Over 40% of those diagnosed will die within five years - National Cancer Institute.1
  • This is the third year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence — in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year.1
  • The death rate in the United States is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as breast, cervical, Hodgkin's, prostate, liver, testes, kidney, thyroid and colon.2
  • The incidence rate for oral cancer is 3 TIMES GREATER than cervical cancer in the US.1
  • Exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus) is the fastest growing risk factor for oral cancer.1
  • The mortality rate associated with oral cancer has not improved significantly in the last 40 years.1
  • 90% of oral cancer occurs in patients 45 years or older, which encompasses "all" 84M Baby Boomers.1
  • An estimated 7,550 oral cancer patients died in 2007 (5180 men 2370 women).3
  • Rates of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are more than twice as high in men then women. Cancer of the oral cavity ranks as the ninth most common cancer among men.1
  • Women in their 40’s now make up the fastest growing segment of the US population to be diagnosed.
  • Men of African ancestry have an especially high risk in every age group.4
  • 90% of oral cancers are "Squamous Cell Carcinomas".3
  • One person dies from oral cancer every hour.1
  • 1 National Cancer Institute
    2 National Cancer Institute/SEER
    3 American Cancer Society
    4 American Cancer Society, Facts and Figures
    for African-Americans.