Monday, November 21, 2011

Fewer Americans Dying from Oral and Throat Cancer?

Squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue

Yes, according to a new study.
Death rates for U.S. patients with throat and mouth cancers decreased between 1993 and 2007, a new study shows.

The finding comes from an analysis of National Center for Health Statistics data on white and black men and women, aged 25 to 64, in 26 states.

I would suggest that better awareness by patients, dentists and physicians, plus less use of tobacco products has helped reduce the mortality rate.

The researchers also found that the largest decreases in death rates for mouth and throat (pharynx) cancers were among black patients with at least 12 years of education.

The study appears in the November issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Death rates increased among white men with fewer than 12 years of education, according to Dr. Amy Y. Chen, of Emory University School of Medicine and the American Cancer Society, and colleagues.

Another study in the same issue of the journal found that poor overall quality of life, pain and continued tobacco use seem to be associated with poorer outcomes and a higher death rate two years after diagnosis for patients with head and neck cancer.

Oral and throat cancer is a nasty disease which is often difficult to treat since it is usually discovered late, after it has spread. It is time to increase even more awareness of its appearance and persuade people to quit or never start the use of tobacco products.

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