Cancer now seen as ‘beatable’


Cancer is now seen as ‘beatable’, according to a new survey

One of the most common words linked with cancer is ‘beatable’, according to a new study by the BDHF.

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) is hailing this a huge triumph against the disease, as Cancer Research UK has said that cancer survival rates have doubled in the UK over the last 40 years.

‘Every single one of us has a different way of thinking about cancer and it is great to see that so many of us have a positive perception about the fight against it,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said.

‘We have seen so many wonderful developments within cancer treatment in recent years but unfortunately, when it comes to mouth cancer, progress has been particularly slow.

‘Mouth cancer survival rates have not improved in the last 20 years and we put this down to a lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms, this may result in diagnosis being made too late and the cancer spreading, this makes treatment more extensive and less successful.

‘Evidently, a lot of us see cancer as not something to be completely feared anymore.

‘We want to make this the same when it comes to mouth cancer in particular; key to beating it is early detection as it dramatically improves the chances of survival from 50 to 90%.

‘There are fantastic support networks, information and improved treatments which all play a role in a greater survival rates but this all depends on an early diagnosis.

‘Although a lot has already been done and more people are surviving cancer in general, we need to do more to help protect people from mouth cancer.’

One comment

  1. 1

    Mouth cancer survival rates have not improved that much since George Crile described the neck dissection in 1906. Yes it may be related to late staging of disease but this is unproven. The disease is changing with HPV associated cancers which have a relationship to CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the tonsillar crypts. It appears that having HPV and smoking pot increases the risk of cancer of the tonsil. The mechanism is through the Retinoblastoma Pathway (Rb) inactivation by viral Oncogene E7 and this upregulates tumour suppressor p16 expression.
    This gives rise to a new population of young victims, which fortunately have a better prognosis.

    So the message would appear to be No Oral Sex and No dope for this group of patients.

    Oral cancer incidence rates have increased overall in Great Britain since the late-1970s. For males, European age standardised Open a glossary item (AS) incidence rates increased by 65% between 1979-1981 and 2010-2012. The rise is larger for females, with rates having increased by 82% between 1979-1981 and 2010-2012.

    There are likely to be several reasons for the increase, including changes in the prevalence of oral cancer risk factors such as alcohol consumption, tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and human papilloma virus (HPV) infection.

    So whilst there may be much to celebrate in lower rates of cancer in the community, we are yet to mirror this in the Oral Cavity. The rise in cases is particularly worrying especially when fluorescent screening is not yet routine. I have always argued that this fluorescent technology should complete an oral examination, especially in those groups at risk. It appears that the establishment thinks differently, and whilst the case is argued and evidence is gathered and analysed, to justify the cost of screening, the incidence of oral cancer rises.

    Oral Cancer Mortality
    Oral cancer is the 19th most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2012), accounting for 1% of all deaths from cancer. Oral cancer is the 16th most common cause of cancer death among men in the UK (2012), accounting for 2% of all male deaths from cancer. Among women in the UK, oral cancer is the 19th most common cause of cancer death (2012), accounting for 1% of all female cancer deaths.

    In 2012, there were 2,119 deaths from oral cancer in the UK: 1,426 (67%) in men and 693 (33%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of more than 2:1. The crude mortality rate shows that there are 5 oral cancer deaths for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 2 for every 100,000 females.
    The European age-standardised mortality rates are significantly higher in Scotland compared with the other constituent countries of the UK for males, and are significantly higher in Scotland compared with England for females.

    But what is also very important is the mechanism of death in oral cancer cases which can be particularly cruel.

    So whilst this news is welcome, there are no celebrations yet in Oral Cancer management.

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