Get Screened For Oral, Head & Neck Cancer
In the battle against oral, head and neck cancers, awareness is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, since catching early signs of these conditions have the potential for increasing cure rates or the overall effectiveness of treatment. That’s why our team of cancer experts have put together this helpful guide, highlighting some key information about oral, head, and neck cancers that could help save a life.
How Common Is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer?
In the United States alone, there are over 110,000 new cases of oral, head, and neck cancer that are diagnosed each year, which makes up approximately 6% of all cancer cases in the country. While early detection makes it easier to manage and treat these condition, about 66% of all cases of oral, head, and neck cancer are discovered after they have already advanced to stages 3 and 4. This is linked the the low rate of screenings in the U.S. with a recent poll showing that about 71% of Americans who are at risk of developing these cancers have not received any kind of screening.
The Risk Factors For Oral, Head, & Neck Cancer
Oral, head, and neck cancer is a grouping of various types of cancer that affect those areas of the body, such as the tongue, esophagus, and sinuses. Since there is such a wide range of areas that can be affected by cancer, there is also a large number or risk factors that could increase the chances of developing these cancers. Some of the primary risk factors that are linked to the development of oral, head, and neck cancers include:
- Smoking & Tobacco Usage - Tobacco usage in any form increases the chance of developing oral, neck, and head cancers significantly, and is linked to about 85% of all diagnosed cases. Smokers are about 15 times more likely to be diagnosed with these cancers compared to non-smokers, and other types of tobacco use increases the chance even further.
- Alcohol Consumption - Drinking alcohol on a frequent basis or consuming a large amount of alcohol regularly can possibly increase the risk of developing cancer in the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus.
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus) - HPV is a group of viruses that are transferred and contracted through sexual activity. People with HPV are at a higher risk of developing oral, head, or neck cancers.
- Gender - Men are approximately 2 or 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with oral, head, or neck cancer compared to women. It is theorized that this increased risk is linked to the fact that men have higher rates of alcohol consumption and tobacco usage than women.
- Poor Diet & Lack Of Exercise - Certain diseases and medical conditions such as vitamin deficiencies that are tied to poor diet and a lack of exercise have a chance of increasing the risk of a oral, head, or neck cancer diagnosis.
- Age - Oral, head, and neck cancers become more common after the age of 40, which is why doctors will recommend patients to start scheduling annual screenings when they reach this age. While most cases are discovered in patients over the age of 65, beginning screening at a younger age will aid in efforts in prevention and identifying early signs.
The Importance Of Regular Cancer Screenings
Oral, head, and neck cancers typically take years to develop, leaving a large window of time for patients and doctors to identify early signs of cancer. When these cancer conditions are discovered early, patients and doctors can take action with treatment or take preventative measures before the cancer has a chance to develop into a more advanced stage, which can possibly increase the chance of it being cured or improve the effectiveness of treatment. The early signs of developing oral, head, and neck cancers will vary depending on the type of cancer that the patient has, as well as the location where the cancer is forming. Unfortunately, there are some cases where patients will not show any signs or symptoms. This is why cancer screenings are the most effective and reliable method of identifying early signs of cancer.
Learn More About Oral, Head, & Neck Cancers
At Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center, not only do we work to provide our patients with nothing less than the best in cancer care through radiation therapy, but we also strive to be a comprehensive and reliable information resource when it comes to various cancer conditions. For oral, head, and neck cancers, we have a dedicated resources page for head and neck cancer, which includes information about the common symptoms patients experience, the early warning signs, the treatment options available, and more. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for in our database, you can always reach out to us and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.
Spread Awareness To Your Family & Friends
Whether or not someone you know has been diagnosed with oral, head, or neck cancer, help support the cause of fighting against these diseases by sharing this helpful information and spreading awareness. If you have any questions about oral, head, and neck cancer, risk factors, treatments, or getting a screening, feel free to reach out to us and you’ll be connected with one of our staff members who will be able to assist you and provide you with all of the information you need.