As almost ten Australians are diagnosed with oral cancer each day, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is using World No Tobacco Day (31 May) to put out the message that not only can tobacco severely impact cardiovascular health, it also contributes to your risk of developing oral cancer.1
The theme for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World No Tobacco Day is “Tobacco Breaks Hearts”.While tobacco causes over two million deaths from cardiovascular diseases every year, tobacco is instrumental to causing oral cancer for 300,000 people worldwide.2 Oral cancer is the eleventh most common cancer worldwide according to the WHO.3Dr Michael Foley, Vice Chairman of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee said, “Even though the proportion of daily smokers in Australia has dropped in recent years, that does not mean that there is a less of a need to be vigilant about oral cancer”.
The ADA in partnership with the Australian Health Policy Collaboration released Australia’s Oral Health Tracker in March 2018.4 Included in the tracker is a goal to reduce smoking rates to 5% by 2025 from their current 12.2% in persons over the age of 14 years.
“Oral cancer is an aggressive disease which often goes undetected until it reaches an advanced stage; with a survival rate of only 50% over five years”, added Dr Foley. “Regular visits with your GP and dentist may help to detect signs and symptoms early”.
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
• A sore, irritation, lump or thick patch in the mouth, lip, or throat
• A chronic ulcer or blood blister in the mouth that does not heal
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing
• Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
• Prolonged swollen glands
• A sore throat that does not go away
• Difficulty speaking, or a change in the voice
• Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
• Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
World No Tobacco Day – 31 May 2018
1. Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, ‘Cancer in Australia 2017’, at https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/3da1f3c2-30f0-4475-8aed-1f19f8e16d48/20066-cancer-2017.pdf.aspx?inline=true page 149, accessed 28 May 2018
4. Australian Dental Association and Australian Health Policy Collaboration, ‘Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker’, https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker accessed 29 May 2018