When you think of the word “cancer,” types like lung or breast likely come to mind first. But, did you know that oral cancer is actually the sixth most common form of cancer with over 300,000 new cases being diagnosed every year worldwide? Most recently, Michael Douglas’ struggle and recovery from the disease has brought oral cancer into the public eye.
Oral cancer pertains to the mouth, lips and throat and although it is highly curable when diagnosed early, it often goes unnoticed because symptoms are usually hidden and painless. In the United States alone, someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. Dentists and hygienists are the perfect clinicians to play a leading role in the discovery of oral cancer because we see our patients several times a year and are the most educated about the structures of the mouth, head and neck to easily recognize abnormalities.
Risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Family history of the disease
- Smoking or tobacco user
- Heavy alcohol use
- Excessive exposure to the sun.
- Exposure to HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
Even if you don’t currently fall into the risk factor categories, oral cancer screenings are a simple and easy part of your complete visit to Dental Health & Wellness Boston. Make a dental appointment today; it could save your life!