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 of Oral Cancer
- Tobacco of any kind is the number one cause of oral cancer
- Alcohol consumption
- Exposure to the HPV-16 virus ( same virus that causes cervical cancer in women)
- Genetic predisposition
Signs of Oral Cancer
- 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 of Oral Cancer
- Typically oral cancer does not have any pain or discomfort.
Oral Cancer 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!