Each year, more than 30,000 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx are diagnosed and over 8,000 deaths due to oral cancer occur. The 5-year survival rate for these cancers is only about 50 percent. Mortality from oral cancer is nearly twice as high in some minorities (especially black males) as it is in whites. Methods used to treat oral cancers (surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy) are disfiguring and costly. Preventing high risk behaviors, that include cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking, use of smokeless tobacco, and excessive use of alcohol are critical in preventing oral cancers. Early detection is key to increasing the survival rate for these cancers.
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