Thursday, July 3, 2014

Oral Cancer Treatments Improving...

As regular readers of the blog know, I'm passionate about early detection of and the fighting of oral and pharyngeal cancers.
I recently blogged about the too early demise of Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and unfortunately that is an all too common occurrence.
Oral and pharyngeal cancers are a terrible disease and we in healthcare need to work harder to bring a focus to the subject.  In the United States, the country with the supposedly *best* healthcare in the world, one person dies of oral/pharyngeal cancer every hour of every day.  That is a sobering statistic that we need to work harder to bring to the world's attention.
Add to that stat the fact that those who DO survive are frequently disfigured by the surgical procedures required to excise the cancers and you have a disease that is terrible and only has a 60% five year survival rate.  What that means is that for those who are unfortunate enough to develop this disease, in five years 40% of those people will be dead.  These stats and others on this terrible disease can be found at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.  
If you would like to learn what it's like from a survivor's perspective, my good friend and colleague Michael Quirk has a report over at the Dental Products Report website.  
However, it's not all bad.  Recently, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, announced to the world that he has a form of throat cancer (which is a form of oral/pharyngeal cancer).  Today, the folks at USA Today released a story that treatments for cancers like the one Dimon has are improving.  Liz Szabo of USA Today has a very good article that is written for the lay person and is definitely recommended by this dental professional.  Head on over to USA Today and give it a read.  

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