H&N Cancer Rates Increasing…

Time to step up prevention, including more equitable access to dental care

Oral cancers are in the news in the UK. The mouth cancer action month in November and campaigning by an independent advocacy charity, the Oral Health Foundation, along with a personal account by high profile comedian Rhod Gilbert, have highlighted the increasing burden of this devastating and insidious disease.12 Patients often require substantial surgical and oncological treatment, affecting quality of life, and prognosis is uncertain.

Oral cancers include tumours of the oral cavity (mouth) and oropharynx (throat). For both types combined, over 475 000 new cases and 225 000 deaths were recorded globally in 2020.3 Oral cancer cases have risen over recent decades: between 2001 and 2019 in England, the age standardised incidence (per 100 000) for cancers of the lip, oral cavity, and pharynx rose from 6.6 to 10 for women and from 13.9 to 22 for men.4 Much of this increase is driven by oropharyngeal cancers.5

Mortality has also gone up….