The aim of the present study was to evaluate changes in the management and 5-year survival rates of patients with oral cancer in our department over a 30-year period.
Materials and Methods
We investigated the patient distributions, treatment methods, method of neck dissection according to cancer stage, and 5-year survival rates for 700 oral cancer patients over the periods of 1982–1996 (256 patients), 1999–2006 (248 patients), and 2007–2011 (196 patients).
Stage IV patients were the largest group in all of the time periods evaluated. Although surgery and radiotherapy were the most common methods in all periods (over 50%), the prevalence of patients who underwent concomitant chemoradiotherapy increased from 7.0% to 16.2%. The use of radical neck dissection decreased from 43.0% to 5.3%, while conservative surgical methods increased from 24.1% to 76.3%. Lastly, the overall 5-year survival rate increased from 31.6% to 63.5% during the study period.
Although the 5-year survival rate reached the same level as that of other developed countries during the course of our study, most patients continue to come to the hospital with stage IV disease. In order to increase the 5-year survival rate of oral carcinoma, it may be necessary to improve public education and social efforts relevant to early diagnosis.