At Alaska Premier Dental Group we encourage people to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. If you avoid the dentist because you don’t think you have any cavities, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more compelling reason.
Lung and breast cancer get 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 acquired HPV, you have an increased risk for developing oral cancer.
At Alaska Premier Dental Group, we work to increase awareness of oral cancer and the significance of early diagnosis. Here are 5 important things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.
1. About 80% of men and women with oral cancer use some kind of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
2. 40% of men and women who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer die within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.
3. 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 evaluated by a dentist or doctor.
4. HPV (the most common 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 regularly linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
5. Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.