Posted on Nov 02, 2019, 5 p.m.
According to the British based non-profit Oral Health Foundation’s awareness campaign oral cancer rates “have more than doubled in a generation,” and American rates are comparable.
In the UK over the past 20 years mouth cancer diagnoses have increased 135%, during 2018 alone seven people died every day from the disease out of 8,337 patients in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation around 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer every year, with at least one patient dying per hour every day causing approximately 13,500 deaths every year.
According to the Hygiene Advocacy Group people need to be more aware of the causes of mouth cancer: primarily sexually transmitted HPV, drinking alcohol, and smoking. “While most cancers are on the decrease, cases of mouth cancer continue to rise at an alarming rate,” says Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Cancer Foundation. HPV is an emerging risk factor compared to the more traditional causes such as boozing and smoking, HPV causes an estimated 73% of oropharyngeal mouth cancers according to Carter.
Celebrity Michael Douglas infamously blames his throat cancer diagnosis on his fondness for oral intercource, although his celebrity wife disputes his claim. Human papillomavirus can also cause other cancers related to sex acts as another celebrity Marcia Cross found out and has since become an advocate after being diagnosed with anal cancer; from the same HPV that led to her husband’s throat cancer.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease which infects more than 79 million Americans alone. It often goes undetected in its benign form and is often subdued by the immune system. It can cause warts in some cases, and if left untreated some strains can cause cancers.
Having more than 10 alcoholic drinks per week causes 33% of diagnoses according to the Oral Cancer Foundation; and smoking is linked to around 17% of cases while increasing your individual risk of disease 91%.
The American 5 year survival rate for oral cavity cancer is around 57%, and those who survive may have to do so without a tongue or jaw. Mouth cancer is a devastating disease, “It changes how somebody speaks, it makes eating and drinking more difficult and often changes a person’s physical appearance,” adds Cater.
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