At Karen E Williamson D.D.S., P.A in Rockwall, we urge our patients to come in twice a year for a dental exam. There’s more to it than checking for new cavities.
If you skip twice-yearly dental checkups because you don’t believe you have any cavities, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more convincing reason for regular checkups.
In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have drawn 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 an increased risk for developing oral cancer.
Here are 5 vital things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.
- About 80% of men and women with oral cancer use some type of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
- 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%.
- In many cases, it is hardly possible for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce unobtrusive symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be analyzed by a qualified health care professional.
- HPV (the most frequent sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the copious strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most often linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
- Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.
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