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Types of Head & Neck Cancer

Oral Cancer 


  Orofacial cancers are the 6th most common cancer worldwide and it has risen in the oral cavity and adjacent structures. Over 80% are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) arising from the skin of the mouth and lip.


  There are about 2,000 new cases per year registered in the United Kingdom but they may be under-reported by up to 25%. Despite progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment during the last decades, the prognosis of Orofacial SCC remains poor with a 5-year survival rate of less than 55%. This poor prognosis has not changed over the past few decades. Oral SCC kills at least 1,400 people each year in England and Wales; nearly two thirds of patients with this cancer will die of their disease. This is similar to the death rate for other cancers, such as breast cancer, but Orofacial cancer also shows a worsening trend in the last decade against, for example, cancer of the cervix where early diagnosis has improved the prognosis for many patients.


This grim reading is largely due to patients' late presentation to specialist care via their doctors or dentists where very often the cancer has become invasive and advanced.

  There is also an increasing trend in Orofacial cancer especially tongue cancer. It is of particular concern because the increase in tongue cancer seems to affect the younger age group of less than 40 years old and more so in women.

  NOTE: Any suspicious lesions (patch, ulcer or swelling) of face, jaw, mouth, head and neck which have not healed within three weeks should be seen by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Early diagnosis and prompt management of small cancers is of vital importance to ensure good survival rate and functional outcome.




Copyright N Kalavrezos 2013

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