According to the American Cancer Society, more women in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year (approx.12,000 cases) than will be diagnosed with cervical cancer ( approx. 10,000 cases), and there are as many cases of oral cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV 16/18), a sexually transmitted disease, as there are HPV-related cases of cervical cancer.
Who Is At Risk for Oral Cancer?
In our continuing efforts to provide the most advanced technology and highest standard of care available to our patients, we are proud to announce the inclusion of ViziLite® Plus as an integral part of our annual comprehensive oral cancer screening protocol.
One American dies every hour from oral cancer. Late detection of oral cancer is the primary cause that both the incidence and mortality rates of oral cancer to continue to increase. As with most cancers, age is the primary risk factor for oral cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use are other major predisposing risk factors but more than 25% of oral cancer victims have no such lifestyle risk factors. Oral cancer risk by patient profile is as follows:
- Increased Risk: Patients aged 18 – 39
- High Risk: Patients aged 40 and older; tobacco users (any age, any type of tobacco within 10 years)
- Highest Risk: Patients age 40 and older with lifestyle risk factors (tobacco use and/or heavy or chronic alcohol use); previous history of oral cancer.
- Risk Factors:
- Viral infections, particulary HPV 16/18
- Long term exposure to the sun (lip cancer)
- A history of white or red patches on the oral tissue
Common Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If any of these conditions apply to you, discuss them with your doctor:
- A mouth sore that does not heal
- A white and/or red patch of tissue inside your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- A lump or mass in the mouth or neck
- Hoarseness that lasts for a long period
- Pain or numbness in the oral/facial region
- Pain in the ear of long duration
- A change in voice
How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer?
- Know if you are at Risk
- Know the signs and symptoms of Oral Cancer
- Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol use.
- Tell your health care provider about your risk factors and symptoms
- Have a comprehensive oral cancer screening at least once per year.
We find that an oral cancer examination improves our ability to identify suspicious areas at their earliest stages. Early detection of pre-cancerous tissue can minimize or eliminate the potentially disfiguring effects of oral cancer and possibly save your life.
Make an appointment today for a dental exam and oral cancer screening.