April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
Do you know the main cause of oral cancer?
In most recent years, the main cases of oral cancer, over 63%, have been linked to an STD called human papillomavirus (HPV), especially in young adults. The Centers for Disease Control found that less than half of American adults are aware that HPV infection is a risk factor for oropharyngeal/oral cancers. Although 80 to 90 percent of oral cancers are found in people who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who have no risk factors at all.
Where it can appear:
- Bottom of the mouth
Over 40% of all cases lead to death in under 5 years because of this. If detected early on, this illness has a 90% survival rate. It is one of our goals here at Englewood Dental, to spread awareness on how to notice symptoms when they first appear. Oral screenings should be done regularly and treated as any other type of cancer screening– rather than the less than 15% recorded– just as you would have screenings to detect cancer in other areas. A study revealed that 81% of adults wish they were screened for oral cancer during checkups, about 65% of those wishes aren’t met.
Other ways to avoid/prevent oral cancer:
- Maintain a proper brushing and flossing routine
- Lessen/stop the use of tobacco products
- Wear lip balm with SPF when in the sun
Two tests can determine if a trouble spot is cancerous. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells in the early stages of the disease. A scalpel biopsy, which requires local anesthesia, is usually performed on suspicious areas.
Ask us about oral cancer screenings and detect any early signs in just minutes! Engaging and inquiring with your doctor about oral cancer is one step in the right direction towards keeping yourself healthy, as well as others through the spread of awareness.