ORAL AND PHARYNGEAL CANCER : Early detection at regular check ups.

by Dr Frank Orlando



Here are some statistics to consider:

  • Oral cancer kills one American every hour.1
  • Approximately 42,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013.1
  • In 2013, among the 42,000 diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States, 18,000 will not be alive in five years.2
  • Oral cancer’s incidence rate has increased the last five years in a row.1
  • In 2007, oral cancer’s incidence increased by 11 percent.1
  • The mortality rate for oral cancer has not changed significantly in three decades1
  • Oral cancer’s high mortality rate is due to late-stage discovery (Stage III and IV).1


The mortality rate for oral cancer is higher than the rates for cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer and skin cancer.1


1Oral Cancer Foundation

2National Cancer Institute/SEER



Did you know that…

40 percent of oral cancers are found in patients who do not present with any of the traditional risk factors or any other significant lifestyle risks?

The traditional risk factors of oral cancer include:

  • Previous history of oral cancer
  • Over 40 years of age
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Smokeless tobacco


This means all patients, regardless of age and lifestyle, need an oral exam that looks closely for abnormal tissue. (Please see the Trends tab for more detailed information about why this is.)



Connection Between HPV and Oral Cancer:

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the fastest growing oral cancer population

  • Three out of four people are infected with HPV at some point in their lives
  • Oral HPV increases your risk for oral cancer fiftyfold1
  • Any prior infection with HPV-16 increases your risk for oral cancer ninefold1
  • Having six or more oral sex partners makes you 8.6 times more likely to get oral cancer2
  • 60 percent of oropharyngeal cancer is HPV related1
  • 90 percent of HPV+ oral cancers are HPV-161
  • HPV can be transmitted from mother to child


HPV and oral cancer have increased 225 percent in the past three decades

1 American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2012

2 Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York (C) 2011


Greater than 50% of oral cancers are diagnosed after they spread


At the dental office it is imperative for an extra and intra oral examination – including visual and palpation including mouth, tongue, lymph nodes and neck.

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