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.
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.
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
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.
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.