Head and neck cancer is a growing challenge with more than 650,000 new cases and more than 360,000 deaths worldwide each year.
Historically, the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high due to late-stage diagnosis and intervention. More than 40 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years.
Early diagnosis of oral cancer results in a cure rate of up to 90 percent.
Not only are these statistics startling, but they also represent personal losses — lives cut too short or altered dramatically by the devastating impact of head and neck cancer.
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As the world commemorates World Head and Neck Cancer Day today , we’re encouraging individuals to be proactive about oral health.
Anyone can get oral cancer, but certain factors increase the risks. Tobacco and alcohol use are two major risk factors. Another is HPV, which is contributing to a rise in oral cancer among young people.
A recent survey showed that while only one-third of respondents recall being screened for oral cancer at their last dental check-up, a large majority would like to be screened at every check-up. Ask your dentist for a screening during your next visit.
Maintain good oral and overall health. This includes engaging in good oral health practices, getting regular dental and medical check-ups, eating healthy, and practicing safe sex.
If you notice any changes in your oral cavity or throat that persist, ask your healthcare provider.
By educating everyone on the risk factors, encouraging people to get screened regularly, and providing clinicians with simple, accurate tools to detect the disease, we can help save lives.
Matthew Kim, founder and CEO, Vigilant Biosciences, Fort Lauderdale
- Holly Boykin, executive director, Head and Neck Cancer Alliance,
- Mary Ann Caputo, executive director, Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer, Locust Valley, NY