At Dental Arts of Mountain View, we want to see our patients at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. A checkup can give you real peace of mind, especially since everyone we do includes an oral cancer screening.
Lung and breast cancer get a lot of public attention, and rightfully so. However, there is less awareness of oral cancer, even though it claims almost 10,000 lives in the United States every year.
If you smoke or have contracted HPV, you have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
Here are five critical 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 those 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 difficult for someone to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers on their own, because they can produce indistinct 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.
- HPV (the most prevalent 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 often linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
- African American men have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than do other ethnicities.