In 2009, the Latin American Dental Federation (FOLA) established December 5 as the Latin American Day to Fight Oral Cancer, in honor of the birthday of Prof. Dr. Julio Santana Garay, Cuban dentist and pioneer in the implementation of prevention campaigns in the matter.
Oral cancer constitutes a major public health problem worldwide since:
- Represents 3-4% of all cancers
- 3,000 new cases are diagnosed each year
- It can appear anywhere in the oral cavity (lips, cheek, tongue, floor of the mouth, palate, gums and alveolar ridges)
- Its impact is between 55% and 60% of deaths in its different stages
The most important risk factors for its appearance are:
And to a lesser percentage it also influences:
- The consumption of very hot drinks and foods
- Chronic trauma to some sector of the mucosa produced by teeth or prostheses in poor condition
- Sun exposure for the lower lip
- Marijuana use
- Lack of oral hygiene
- Chronic consumption of waters with high arsenic content.
- Immunodeficiencies and immunosuppressions (AIDS, therapeutic, congenital)
- Diet aspects such as vitamin deficiencies, lack of antioxidants, or malnutrition
When caught at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate for all people is 85%. About 29% of people are diagnosed with an oral or oropharyngeal cancer at an early stage.
If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and / or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 67%. Almost half of the cases are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the overall 5-year survival rate is 40%.
If you find ulcer-type lesions (traumatic wounds) as well as any other raised and discolored lesions on the mucosa, lip, tongue, floor of the mouth, do not hesitate to consult the dentist immediately. Periodic control with the dentist and self-examination of the oral mucosa are essential actions in its prevention.