Three Australians are diagnosed with oral cancer every day—which is why the Australian Dental Association (ADA) used the occasion of World Cancer Day this past Saturday to raise awareness of oral cancer.
“When Australians think of cancer, it does not immediately come to mind that cancer can occur in the mouth. However, certain habits can increase a person’s risk of developing oral cancer—such as tobacco and alcohol which increases that risk by more than 80 per cent,” said Dr Michael Foley, vice chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee.
In fact, heavy tobacco and alcohol consumers are 38 more times at risk than those who do not consume these products. Oral cancer can also be caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) transmitted through unprotected oral sex.
“If picked up early, oral cancer can be addressed relatively well—an 85 per cent five-year survival rate. However, the sad reality is that oral cancer is typically detected when advanced, where the five-year survival rate can be as low as nine per cent,” Dr Foley said.
“We can dramatically lower this rate with simple lifestyle changes.”
The theme for World Cancer Day 2016-18 was ‘We can. I can’, conveying the message that as individuals, families, communities and at the governmental level, we all can take action to reduce the impact of cancer.
You can read more about oral cancer in the November issue of Bite magazine.