Head and neck cancer, including oral cancer, cancer of the larynx, and cancer of the pharynx, is the sixth most common type of cancer, with approximately 643,000 worldwide cases reported annually.
About 40% of tumors diagnosed in the head and neck area are diagnosed as squamous-cell carcinoma. The five year survival rate for those kinds of oral cancer range from 81% (patients with localized disease), 42% (with regional disease), and 17% (patients with metastasis). This rate remained very high and relatively constant in recent decades.
The treatment of oral cancer often produces major changes in speech, chewing, swallowing, and oral health, which in addition to the disease affects the social life and self-esteem of the affected person. For these reasons, we believe in an intraoral and extra oral comprehensive head and neck exam at annual recalls.
Unlike other areas of dentistry, where new methods allow early diagnosis of many diseases, the oral examination has not changed much in the last few decades.