Prognosis for Oral Cancer

The outlook for patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancers varies depending on the stage of the disease and the location of the tumor. According to the American Cancer Society, 83 percent of patients who have early-stage cancer of the lip survive 5 years from the time of diagnosis, and 47 percent of those with late-stage disease live that long.

For mouth cancer found in other places in the oral cavity, the 5-year survival rate is 68 percent for early-stage cancer and 27 percent for late-stage. For those with oropharyngeal cancer, the survival rate is 57 percent for early-stage disease and 30 percent for late-stage.

Oral Cancer Prevention

The best way to avoid developing oral and oropharyngeal cancers and prevent recurrence is to avoid using tobacco products and limit alcohol use. Sun protection measures—avoiding direct sun (especially at midday), wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and using sunscreen—also may be helpful.

Denture-wearers should be sure that their dentures fit properly. Regular dental and medical check ups are also important. The American Cancer Society also recommends maintaining a well-balanced diet, since mouth cancer has been linked to unhealthy food choices.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 07 Sep 2006

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015