Concern over oral cancer increases among women

Rising incidence of disease among women noted by UCC researchers

The rate of oral cancer among women in Ireland has risen significantly in the last decade according to a new study from University College Cork (UCC).

A group of researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCC examined the cases of 2,147 individuals who were diagnosed with oral cancer between 1994 and 2009. They found that there was an annual increase of 3.2 per cent in females compared to an annual decrease in oral cancer rates among men of 4.8 per cent between 1994 and 2001.

The study, recently published in the journal BMC Cancer, estimated the lifetime risk of developing oral cancer at 0.7 per cent for males and 0.5 per cent for females. Meaning that, on average, seven men out of ı,000 and five women out of ı,000 have a risk of being diagnosed.

Researchers expressed concern about the rising incidence of oral cancer in females which rose from 24 per cent in 1994 to 32 per cent in 2009, especially as the disease is traditionally more common in men. They said the trend might be related to underlying patterns of tobacco consumption over the past decades where the decrease in smoking was at a slower rate in women.