The Need for Early Detection
There are more than 600,000 new cases of oral cancer each year worldwide. More than 48,000 individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year with over 9,570 deaths resulting from this disease, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours a day. Of those 48,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only 57% will be alive in 5 years. This number has not significantly improved in decades.
Historically, the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high due to late-stage diagnosis and intervention. Currently, the vast majority of patients are detected through a visual exam and/or are symptomatic, at which point they are likely late stage. As a result, oral cancer often goes undetected to the point of metastasizing. Early diagnosis of oral cancer results in a cure rate of up to 90%.