Almost 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 40,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years (approximately 57%). This percentage has not significantly improved in decades.
The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers we hear about routinely, such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid or skin cancer (malignant melanoma). The death rate associated with oral cancer is exceptionally high, not because it is hard to discover or diagnose but because it is routinely discovered late in its development.
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