At Crabtree Dental we urge people to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. If you skip semiannual dental checkups because you don’t believe you have any tooth decay, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more compelling reason to see your dentist regularly.
In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have attracted a lot of public attention. There is relatively less awareness of oral cancer even though it claims almost 10,000 lives every year in the United States. If you smoke or have become infected with HPV, you have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
At Crabtree Dental, we work to raise awareness of oral cancer and the importance of early diagnosis. Courtesy of the CDC, Oral Cancer Foundation, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, here are 5 essential things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.
1. About 80% of people with oral cancer use some type of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
2. 40% of people who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer pass away within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.
3. In many cases, it is practically impossible for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce indistinct symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be checked out by a dentist or doctor.
4. HPV (the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the many strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most repeatedly linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
5. Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.
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