Oral Cancer surge in Victoria

Oral cancer
The increasing rate of oral cancer has prodded DHSV to warn people to educate themselves about the disease.

Victorians diagnosed with oral cancers have shot up from 11.5 per cent to 15 per cent in the last eight years

Dental Health Services Victoria Chief Executive Officer Dr Deborah Cole has urged Victorians to fight back by arming themselves with oral health knowledge and said prevention was always better than a cure.

In 2013, 179 Victorians died from oral cancer. A total of 859 new cases of oral cancer were detected in Victoria in 2013.

“According to statistics, oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in men and the eleventh most common cancer in women in Victoria,” Dr Cole said.

“From 2005-2013 the overall mortality rates have been generally similar since 2005 with the leading cancers of the oral cavity being cancer of the lip, throat and tongue.”

“People should look out for red and white patches in their mouths and sores and ulcers that do not heal within two weeks. In most cases, spots in the mouth will be harmless, but it is important not to delay a diagnosis.”

The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne refers patients it sees for diagnoses if clinicians notice anything suspicious in the mouth of a patient.

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are two principal risk factors for oral cancer. Other factors include:

  • Sun exposure
  • Age
  • Viral infections – human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Genetic predisposition

“Early diagnoses and healthier lifestyle choices are the two best weapons you have to fight this deadly disease,” said Dr Cole.

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  1. People need to be aware as well and attend regular dental check ups, particularly the denture wearing community ( edentulous population )
    People are very complacent regards to their mouth/ dental health and often only see a practitioner when in pain or something is severely wrong by which time it may be too late


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