Oral cancer accounts for roughly 9,000 deaths annually (about 3 percent of all cancer-caused deaths).
Of all major cancers, oral cancer has the worst five-year survival rate at about 54 percent. Because oral cancer is usually not diagnosed in its early stages, less than half of all oral cancer patients are cured. You can help prevent oral cancer by not smoking, using spit tobacco and drinking excessive alcohol. When tobacco use and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than non-users of tobacco and alcohol products.
Research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may safeguard against oral cancer. Because successful treatment and rehabilitation are dependent on early detection, it is extremely important to see your dentist for an oral cancer screening and regular checkup at least every six months. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. During your next dental visit, ask your dentist to do an oral cancer screening.
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