How To Help Fight Oral Cancer
In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness month this April, we wanted to share some information this terrible disease.
Oral cancer accounts for 2-4% of all cancers diagnosed in the US. However, it has one of the lowest survival rates, mostly due to late detection. One big issue isn’t that the symptoms are difficult to notice it’s that there isn’t enough awareness of the disease or risk factors.
Smoking and tobacco are still the top causes of oral cancers. In fact, 90% of people who will develop oral cancer use tobacco. HPV infection is also a major risk factor. The fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, non-smokers that have the HPV virus.
If caught early, oral cancer has a 90% survival rate. Unfortunately, 66% of the time oral cancers are found too late, in stages three or four.
The most common symptoms are sores and pain in the mouth. If you have either of these symptoms and they don’t go away, see your dentist immediately.
At least once a year, ask your doctor or dentist for an oral cancer screening, especially if you’re at high risk. High-risk factors include: excessive alcohol use, excessive sun exposure, poor nutrition, being male (males are twice as likely to develop oral cancer), and being over age 45.