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News USA

Michael Douglas at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2011. The U.S. actor was diagnosed with oral cancer at 66. (DTI/Photo courtesy of Helga Esteb/Shutterstock)
May 29, 2012 | News USA

Michael Douglas raises oral cancer awareness

by Dental Tribune International

LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA: Michael Douglas has joined the Oral Cancer Foundation's campaign against the deadly disease. The actor, who is a survivor of the cancer, has recently helped produce a public awareness announcement to educate people about the need for annual screenings to detect oral cancer as early as possible.

In 2010, Douglas was diagnosed with stage IV oral cancer, a very advanced stage of the disease, after a tumor had been discovered at the base of his tongue. He underwent radiation and chemotherapy, and is now reported to be cancer free after a long and difficult battle.

In partnering with the foundation, Douglas intends to raise public awareness of the early recognition of symptoms related to the disease, avoidance of risk factors and the importance of annual screenings, according to the foundation.

"Michael is a highly visible, well-known actor, and a consummate professional. Those qualities, when coupled with his personal experience, yield a respected voice to this fight," Brian Hill, founder and executive director of the foundation, said.

The announcement will be broadcast nationwide throughout the summer, commencing in June.

According to the foundation, every four hours a person dies from oral cancer in the U.S. owing to late detection in two-thirds of all cases. It recently stated that the prevalence of oral cancer has increased in the past six years compared with other types of cancer. About 40,000 of people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012, it estimates.

Tobacco has been proven to increase the risk of the disease, and people who smoke and drink excessively are at a high risk of developing oral cancer, but the foundation said that young non-smokers are the fastest-growing group of newly diagnosed cases. Exposure to the human papillomavirus type 16, the pathogen that is also responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women, was identified as a possible cause only recently.

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