Routine oral cancer screenings are important to overall health. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 51,540 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2018 and an estimated 10,030 people will die of these cancers. Oral cancer includes cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate sinuses, oropharynx and throat.
How to Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer
There’s no way to prevent all oral cancers, but there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting oral cancer.
Drink alcohol in moderation.
Statistically, 7 in 10 who have oral cancer are heavy drinkers (defined as more than 2 drinks a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women).
Avoid tobacco use.
Pipe smoking and oral tobacco products, commonly called dip, chew and snuff, are linked to cancers of the lips, cheeks and gums.
Maintain a healthy diet, rich in antioxidants.
Poor nutrition is linked to oral cancer.
Use lip sun block.
Those who spend a lot of time in the sun have an increased risk of cancers of the lip.
Avoid HPV (Human Papillomavirus Infection)
According to the American Cancer Society, HPV DNA (a sign of HPV infection) is found in about 2 out of 3 oropharyngeal cancers and in a much smaller fraction of oral cavity cancers.
Visit your dentist twice a year.
Collegeville Gentle Dentist provides oral cancer screening as part of your routine visit. If oral cancer is detected early, before it spreads, the survival rate is very high: 93% for cancer of the lip, 78% for cancer of the tongue, and 75% for cancer of the floor of the mouth. If the cancer metastasizes, (spreads to other organs), the survival rate shrinks to as low as 20% for cancer originating in the floor of the mouth.
Early detection saves lives.
If you are overdue for a dental checkup, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Your overall health depends on it.