With Daffodil day approaching – August 26th, Australia remembers people who have been affected and those who are affected by cancer. Daffodil Day raises funds for the Cancer Council to help it continue its work in cancer research, patient support and prevention programs providing hope for better treatment and more survivors.
Currently, at least 3 Australians are diagnosed with oral cancer every day. It is an aggressive disease which often goes undetected until it reaches an advanced stage; with a survival rate of only 50% over five years.
Dr. Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA Oral Health Committee has stated: “Despite advances in treatment, survival rates for oral cancer remain low. This is because oral cancers tend to be detected late. Recognising the risk factors and signs of oral cancer is therefore vital. People usually associate smoking with cancer, but oral cancers can also occur in non-smokers. Checking for signs of oral cancer is a part of the regular check-up procedure carries out by your dentist, so it’s vital to visit your dentist regularly.”
Facts about Oral cancer
- More than 75% of oral cancers in Australia occur in people who smoke
- Early detection of oral cancer means a 90% chance of surviving
- Drinking and smoking:
- Regularly drinking more than four standard drinks on a single occasion increases your risk of oral cancer
- Young adults who smoke and drink alcohol increase their risk of oral cancer 15 times
- E-cigarettes and water pipe smoking may also contribute to oral cancer
- Unprotected oral sex and HPV:More than 25% of oral cancer sufferers have never smoked. It is likely that these cases of oral cancer are due to contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) through unprotected oral sex
- HPV not only can cause genital warts and cervical cancer in women, HPV can also cause oral cancer in both men and women. HPV can be transmitted via unprotected genital and oral sex
- US studies have shown that more than half of diagnosed oral cancers are linked to the HPV virus with the biggest growth in numbers amongst men
- Extended exposure of lips to sun
- Poor diet – consuming a diet low in or with no vegetables
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
- A sore, irritation, lump or thick patch in the mouth, lip, or throat
- A chronic ulcer or blood blister in the mouth that does not heal
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Prolonged swollen glands
- A sore throat that does not go away
- Difficulty speaking, or a change in the voice
You can download the ADA information sheets on Oral Cancers by clicking the following links:
- How to minimize your risks of oral cancer.
- What are the symptoms of oral cancer.
- Whats in your mouth.
If you have any concerns about your oral health conditions, please contact your friendly dental team at Smile Hawthorn.