Oral Cancer Survey Shows Need for More Education and Screening

April is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, and in an effort to raise awareness, industry leaders conducted a survey to find out how educated the general public is on the issues. Vigilant Biosciences, Inc., a company that develops solutions to aid in the early detection and intervention of cancer, teamed up with the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance and Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC) to sponsor the online survey that polled 523 U.S. consumers on their knowledge and preferences around oral cancer. While the results show that the majority of people (86%) are interested in learning more and being screened, they also found that very little was already known about the disease.

“Oral, head and neck cancer — particularly HPV-related oral cancer — is increasing at an alarming rate and many people are not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to a later stage,” said Holly Boykin, Executive Director at Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. “Early diagnosis is significant to the successful treatment of these cancers, and by working together with other industry organizations, as well as private companies like Vigilant Biosciences, we can improve patients’ lives through early detection and a commitment to engage in conversations about risk factors.”

According to a recent PR Newswire article, some of the key findings of the survey include:

  • Only 37% said they had been screened for oral cancer at their last dental appointment.
  • 83% said they would like to be screened at every dental check-up
  • Only 23% said they recalled talking about oral cancer risk factors with their dental professional at their last check-up.
  • 65% said they were unaware that HPV is a risk factor for oral cancer.
  • More than 86% claimed they want their dental professional to help them learn ways to reduce their risk of developing oral cancer
  • Only 17% of participants said they were aware that 40% of people diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years.

More than 600,000 new cases or oral cancer are reported around the globe each year. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 48,330 people will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, resulting in 9,570 deaths resulting from the disease. Historically, this type of cancer goes undetected for some time and is diagnosed after reaching a late-stage. With early diagnosis and treatment, the survival rate jumps to 90%. Have you had your screening yet?

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