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Oral Cancer Survival Rate

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

There's nothing good about oral cancer. Everyone's prognosis, or chances of recovery, is different. But it can be defeated. You can do it. You can conquer cancer. Fortunately, the oral cancer survival rate is increasing due to various reasons. And some of those can be affected by your decisions and behavior. Help yourself or your loved one battle oral cancer with useful insight on cancer and general oral health advice.

What Are The Facts About Oral Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer affects people in a pretty distinct manner.

  • Over the past 30 years, the survival rate has been increasing.
  • This year, over 50,000 people will battle oral or oropharyngeal cancer.
  • You're twice as likely to get oral cancer if you're male.
  • Your tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, and gums are where oral cancer occurs most often.
  • The majority of those diagnosed with oral cancer is at the average age of 62
  • Follow-up examinations are crucial, as survivors could develop another cancer in the mouth, throat, or lungs.

What Determines A Prognosis?

Those are some facts about oral cancer. But it's your data that will help determine your prognosis. The American Cancer Society has some numbers on survival rates of different oral cancers. But, like every diagnosis, it's you that will ultimately define your prognosis. And with the latest advancements in treatments, the future is a little brighter for those battling oral cancer. Various factors can influence your oral cancer prognosis:

  • Your age
  • How healthy you were pre-cancer
  • The stage, location, and type of cancer
  • The possibility of cancer spreading throughout your body
  • Other cancer cell traits
  • How your cancer responds to treatment

How You Can Improve Your Prognosis

While you should regularly see your dentist at least twice a year for your routine checkups, regular oral cancer screenings are also vital. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better your chance at treating it. A typical screening will examine your:

  • Oral cavity
  • Tongue
  • Lips
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Face
  • Head

If you notice any problems, you should see your dentist right away. Common irregularities include:

  • Persistent mouth sores that do not heal
  • Growth or lump in the mouth
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Loose teeth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Ear pain
  • Mass or lump in the neck
  • Any numbness in your mouth, around the lips, or chin

What Are Your Risks With Oral Cancer

Quite often, oral cancer can be prevented or heavily affected by the choices you make. Most notably, whether you decide to engage with:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Unprotected sex

If you're over 40, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, having protected sex, and getting an HPV vaccination can significantly reduce your chances of being diagnosed with oral cancer.

As modern medicine advances with the latest treatments and technologies, your chances of surviving oral cancer increases. But it's always smart to keep yourself and your mouth in the best possible shape. That means keeping up with your oral care at home and scheduling regular checkups. You should also go in for regular oral cancer screenings and see your dentist immediately if you notice anything abnormal in your mouth. If you wisely combine all of that into your treatment plan — you can do it. You can conquer cancer!


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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