Oral cancers form about 85 per cent of the head and neck cancers. In many cases it is diagnosed in late stages as in early stages it may not cause any symptom. The risk of oral cancer increases with age and is more common after the age of 40 years. Smoking with excessive alcohol consumption is a major risk factor of oral cancer.
Primary oral cancer: If oral cancer is not diagnosed and treated it will continue to become dangerous for your health. Treatment for oral cancer in early stages can cure the disease in about 90 per cent of the affected people. The overall 1-year survival rate for oral patients with all stages of oral cancers is about 81% which decreases to about 60% when the 5 year overall survival is considered. Depending on the stage the 5-year survival rates are as follows (approximately):
Recurrent oral cancer: A cancer which recurs after the treatment has been completed is known as recurrent cancer. Recurrence of cancer can be localised (confined to the oral cavity) or metastatic (at a distant site). Recurrent cancers are common in oral cancer as the there is a high risk of the primary cancer producing second tumours. According to studies patients who survive a first primary oral cancer have up to a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer. Increased risk of development of second cancer lasts for 5—10 years after the first cancer. Recurrent cancer can be treated successfully in many of the affected patients. Treatment options for recurrent oral cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Your doctor will discuss with you and decide on treatment that is best for you.