Did you know that over 35,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and that more than 8,000 of them will die? That is roughly 1 person every hour! Of all of those diagnosed this year only a little more than half of them will survive 5 years. So why the high death rate? Diagnosis or discovery of oral cancer tends to happen late in the disease process many times after it has already metastasized. In short if a person survives their first battle with oral cancer they are up to 20 times more likely to develop a second cancer.
There is good news dentists and physicians can in many cases detect tissue changes in the early caner stages or even the precancer stage. Many times patient disregard the early signs as not worrisome. It is imperative that you have any sore or discolored area checked if it doesn't go away with in 14 days!!!
Risk factors for oral cancer:
40 years of age or older
Heavy alcohol use
Historically 75% of those diagnosed who were age 50 or older were tobacco users. Adding alcohol to tobacco use increases the risk 15 times.
The newest risk factor is HPV(Human Papiloma Virus) it is the same virus that causes 90% of all cervical cancer in women.
Many dentists are using some newer technology to help find oral cancer at it's earliest stages so get your oral cancer screening even those of you who don't have teeth are at risk for oral cancer.