Zila, Inc. noted with dismay that while the American Cancer Society (ACS) celebrated new data with a headline "Cancer Deaths Down for Second Year", the same data showed a marked increase in the number of expected new cases and deaths due to oral cancer.
"The ACS data, published in 'Cancer Facts & Figures 2007', projects 34,360 new cases of Oral Cavity & Pharynx Cancer - a remarkable 11 percent increase over the 30,990 cases that ACS projected for 2006, and a 20 percent increase among males," notes Frank Bellizzi, president of Zila Pharmaceuticals, Inc., marketer of the ViziLite Plus with TBlue630 system for the early detection of oral abnormalities that could lead to cancer. Nearly as many women will be diagnosed with oral cancer as with cervical cancer this year. ACS projects that total deaths due to oral cancer will rise nearly two percent to 7,550 in 2007, from 7,430 in 2006.
"As the ACS celebrates a decline in many cancers," Dr. Bellizzi added, "it is critical to note that oral cancer remains a common cancer type in men, and a critical threat to women. Early detection is the key to reducing death and minimizing the quality-of-life impact of this insidious disease. As the ACS reports, the 5-year survival rate when oral cancer is detected early is 81.3 percent, but late detection results in a survival rate of only 26 percent.
"Dentists across America are moving rapidly to adopt the three-minute, non-invasive, absolutely painless ViziLite Plus technology to improve their chances of detecting potentially deadly abnormal tissue at a very early, highly treatable stage. Respected dental groups, like Heartland Dental Care, Coast Dental, Aspen Dental, Midwest Dental and SmileCare, as well as thousands of independent dental offices, are now routinely providing ViziLite Plus exams as part of their annual patient wellness evaluations. Major insurers are moving quickly to extend coverage to this important technology."
One American dies every hour of oral cancer, and while tobacco and alcohol use contribute to incidence, one quarter of all oral cancer cases occur in people with no risk behaviors. "Take the ACS data to heart," Dr. Bellizzi said. "Ask your dentist for an oral cancer exam at your earliest opportunity."