Among 1,050 U.S. consumers, the majority knows little or nothing at all about oral cancer (68 percent) and only 36 percent reported being screened for oral cancer at their last dental check-up, according to findings from a survey released today by Vigilant Biosciences, Inc. (“Vigilant”), a leading innovator and developer of solutions that aid in the early detection and intervention of cancer.
The online survey polled 1,050 U.S. consumers on their knowledge of risk factors and preferences for screening for oral cancer. Survey respondents included males and females, ages 35-75. The findings were released today for Oral Cancer Awareness Month, which is observed annually in April.
The survey found that consumers want to learn more about how to prevent oral cancer and are interested in simple, effective screening tools to assess their risk.
“This survey’s findings truly demonstrate the need for greater awareness and education around this deadly disease, as well as the desire for increased screening,” said Matthew H.J. Kim, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vigilant Biosciences. “Hundreds of thousands continue to be diagnosed with late-stage oral cancer every year, but we can reduce those numbers, and hopefully the number of associated late-stage cancer deaths, by improving patients’ lives through early detection and a commitment to engage in conversations about risk factors. National Oral Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to begin this dialog.”
Key findings of the survey are below. An executive summary of the survey and an infographic can be found at www.vigilantbiosciences.com.
Screening for Oral Cancer
While just over a third of those surveyed recall being screened for oral cancer at their last dental check-up, a large majority would like to be screened at every check-up and would like their dentist to use simple screening tools to assess their risk. Among notable findings:
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, tobacco use and alcohol consumption are behaviors associated with the highest risk for developing oral cancer. Another risk factor includes exposure to the HPV-16 virus. While the majority of survey respondents recognized smoking as a leading risk factor for oral cancer, many did not know that exposure to the HPV virus was also a risk factor. Among notable findings:
Consumers also underestimated the death rate for oral cancer. Only 16 percent of those surveyed were aware that 40 percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years, with most believing the five-year survival rate to be higher.
“Regular screening and early detection are absolutely essential in the fight against oral cancer,” said Dr. John Comisi, D.D.S., M.A.G.D, Chief Dental Officer for Vigilant Biosciences. “Given that early diagnosis can more than double a person’s chances of survival, it is critical that both patients and their dentists take action to avoid late-stage detection. Any steps we can take to raise awareness about this issue and enhance screening practices will help us increase the survival rate for oral cancer.”
About Oral Cancer
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, there are over 640,000 new cases of oral cancer each year worldwide. In the U.S., close to 48,250 individuals will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, with 9,575 deaths from the disease, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day. Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high due to late-stage diagnosis and intervention. Currently, the vast majority of patients are detected through a visual exam and/or are symptomatic, at which point they are likely late stage. As a result, oral cancer often goes undetected to the point of metastasizing. Early diagnosis of oral cancer results in a cure rate of up to 90 percent.
About the OncAlert™ Oral Cancer Product Line
Vigilant Biosciences’ initial products, the OncAlert Oral Cancer RAPID Test (“OncAlert RAPID Test”) and the OncAlert Oral Cancer LAB Test (“OncAlert LAB Test”), are the first and only technologies that measure soluble CD44 and total protein levels – protein markers clinically shown to be associated specifically with oral cancer when measured in an oral rinse – to aid clinicians in the early detection and intervention of oral cancer. Both products use a simple, oral rinse collection and measurement procedure that is easy to administer and non-invasive for the patient. The accurate, cost-effective tests can benefit every adult, with particular emphasis on high-risk populations (i.e., current and former tobacco users, those who consume excessive alcohol, and people with human papillomavirus). The OncAlert LAB Test is CE Marked. The OncAlert RAPID Test is currently undergoing the CE Mark registration process and not yet available for sale in any market at this time. The OncAlert Oral Cancer product line is not yet available for sale in the U.S.
About Vigilant Biosciences, Inc.
Vigilant Biosciences is a leading innovator and developer of solutions that aid in the early detection and intervention of cancer. Vigilant’s OncAlert Oral Cancer product line includes rapid and lab-based products that are simple, accurate and cost-effective, and empower healthcare practitioners to improve lives through earlier intervention. The OncAlert Oral Cancer product line is not yet available for sale in the U.S. For more information, visit www.vigilantbiosciences.com.