Oral cancer is responsible for around 13,500 deaths in the United States every year. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly one person every hour dies from this disease. Approximately 54,000 adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer yearly. Of these, only 57% will still be alive in five years.
Over half of all oral cancer diagnoses involve men. According to Cancer.Org, this translates to an average of 38,800 men being diagnosed with the disease yearly – much of which may have to do with lifestyle habits.
Tobacco and Alcohol Use
People who smoke cigarettes are six times more likely to develop oral cancer. People who use alcohol heavily are also six times more likely to develop oral cancer. People who do both are at a 15x increased risk.
Studies have shown that men are more likely to smoke cigarettes and abuse alcohol than women. Men see more than twice the number of alcohol-related complications as women do, and outpace women in tobacco use by more than four to one. These behaviors play a direct role in oral cancer risks and must be ceased if risks are to be reduced.
April is a great month to start towards that goal.
April is both Oral Cancer Awareness Month and Alcohol Awareness Month, providing a great opportunity to reflect on our habits and make healthy changes for the future. Oral cancer is known as a “lifestyle disease” because it is largely avoidable. Making healthy choices, including reduced alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco products, will greatly reduce the risks of developing this disease. We can discuss ways to attain these goals during your next visit.
Oral cancer is often slow to develop. In its earliest stages, it may not be visible during routine cleanings and examinations. If you are at increased risk for oral cancer, we can provide screening during your next appointment to assist with early detection.
Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib are fully committed to the health and happiness of our patients. If you suspect you have developed oral cancer or if you are at increased risk for this disease, please give us a call at 212-452-3344 to schedule an appointment today.