Oral Cancer– Spreading Awareness Where It’s Needed

April is dedicated to oral (or oropharyngeal) cancer awareness and the estimated 53,000 Americans that will be diagnosed this year. Each year the number of those diagnosed, and the number of lives taken by this horrible disease increases. This means that approximately 145 Americans are diagnosed each day and 1 life is taken every hour– furthering the increasingly important need to spread awareness.

 

Do you know the main cause of oral cancer?

In recent years, most 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 the HPV infection is a risk factor for oropharyngeal/oral cancers.

 

Where it can appear:

  • Tongue
  • Gums
  • Bottom of the mouth
  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Oropharynx

 

Unfortunately, oral cancer is noticed too late in its development, increasing the rate of death in those that are diagnosed. 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, which is why 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

 

It is my job as your dentist to keep you aware and help you stay informed when making your regular trips to the dentist. 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.

 

Your dentist,

Dr. John Minichetti