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21Mar2014

Oral Cancer Awareness

DID YOU KNOW THAT APRIL is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Oral cancer is reaching epidemic levels. More and more Americans are being diagnosed with oral cancer at a younger age. Studies show that 1 out of 2 men and 1 out of 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. More significant that that, diagnosed cases of oral cancer have increased over the last 6 years while all other cancers have declined in numbers. This is scary stuff.

Other stats include: 40,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year and 40% of these cases are young, non smoking individuals. Over 63% of oral cancers are found in the later stages of cancer development which leads to over 8,000 deaths each year.

HPV Is A Major Risk Factor For Oral Cancer

The new buzz word in the oral cancer is HPV. Many of you may have heard of HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus. HPV is transmitted through saliva, sexual activity and skin to skin contact. This virus is the cause of the fastest growing segment of oral cancer in patients under 45 years of age and is responsible for a 15x increase in oral cancer cases diagnosed in the past few years.

Is oral cancer the disease you thought you knew? Probably not now after reading this.

Early Detection Can Make All The Difference

So, enough boring stats and negative info. Let’s talk about the positives. Most oral cancer is very treatable when detected in early stages of development. With routine annual exams by both your dentist and physician you can ensure that oral cancer will be less likely to affect you during your lifetime. Other risk factors you should avoid to lower your chances of developing oral cancer are: smoking, tobacco use and alcohol.

So if you drink and smoke, cut back or better yet, quit. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and visit your dentist and physician on a routine basis.

Let us know if you have any questions about oral cancer screening.

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