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What Are the Survival Rates for Oral Cancer?

Each year, about 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. About one-quarter of them will die from the disease.

People whose oral cancer is found at an early stage have the best prognosis, or outlook. During the last 30 years, survival rates from oral cancer have risen steadily. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research:

  • The five-year survival rate for all stages combined is 60 percent. In other words, 60 percent of people with oral cancer will survive for five years.

  • The five-year survival rate for localized cancer is 82 percent.

  • African-American men and women have lower survival rates than white men and women.

Getting regular dental visits can help detect oral cancer at its earliest—and most treatable—stage. Not smoking or drinking too much alcohol can help lower your risk of developing oral cancer.

“Oral Cancer.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-cancerAccessed 2013.

“Oral Cancer.” American Cancer Society. 2007 www.cancer.org/downloads/PRO/OralCancer.pdf Accessed 2013.

“Oral Cancer Five-Year Survival Rates by Race, Gender, and Stage of Diagnosis.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, July 18, 2013. www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/OralCancer/OralCancer5YearSurvivalRates.htm Accessed 2013.

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