Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer is on the rise!  Approximately 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year!  The reason oral cancer is on the rise is merely because of the lack of public awareness.  Like any cancer we need to be aware of the causes, signs, symptoms and prevention.

Causes

  • Tobacco of any kind is the number one cause of oral cancer
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Sun
  • Exposure to the HPV-16 virus ( same virus that causes cervical cancer in women)
  • Genetic predisposition

Signs

  • White patches on your gums, cheeks, lips, tongue or throat.  (These are less likely to become malignant)
  • Mixed red and white patches.  (These are more likely to become malignant)
  • Red patches.  (These often turn malignant)
  • Sores that won’t heal

  Symptoms

  • Typically oral cancer does not have any pain or discomfort.

Prevention

  • No smoking or using tobacco of any kind
  • Minimize you alcohol consumption
  • Wear sunscreen on your lips
  • Get your yearly exams with your family doctor  to check for HPV-16 (women)
  • Go to your dentist every 6 months for your full cleaning and exams

If caught early oral cancer has an 80%-90% survival rate.  If caught in the later stages oral cancer only has a 43% survival rate.

Go see your Golden, CO Dentist!