Did you know that the survival rates for people diagnosed with oral cancer are only 50% at the five-year mark? This form of the disease may be less popular than other presentations, which actually causes this cancer to be deadlier than other more well-known types. But, with regular screenings from your dentist in Vienna, we can improve the odds, save your smile, and make sure you’re not just another statistic. In this post, learn how to prevent oral cancer from the team at Vienna Smiles.
How Common Is Oral Cancer?
Each year, anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 people will be diagnosed with cancers of the mouth and throat. Because this disease is most often not detected until it’s later stages, it’s harder to treat and more fatal, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Most oral cancer is detected at a regular office visit, so you can start your prevention efforts by seeing Dr. Hisham Barakat and Dr. Jennifer Bobbio at least twice a year for preventive checkups and cleanings. Your Vienna dentist can diagnose this condition, along with 120 different diseases with just a routine visit.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
There are a few common causes of oral cancer, most of which are related to lifestyle choices. The factors that lead to this disease include:
- Tobacco Use – By far, the most common reason for oral cancer is the use of tobacco. Smoking, dipping, chewing, and maintaining other unhealthy tobacco-related habits increases your risk exponentially.
- Drinking Alcohol – Excessively drinking alcoholic beverages can contribute to oral cancer, especially if you smoke while you drink.
- HPV Exposure – Some cases of oral cancer originate from exposure to HPV, specifically the strain of this virus called HPV16.
- Gender – Men have a higher risk of developing oral cancer than women do.
- Genetics – As with any form of cancer, there is sometimes a genetic or hereditary connection to this disease.
How Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?
There are many things you can do to prevent oral cancer, including:
- Quit using tobacco products in any form.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Consider getting vaccinated for HPV if you’re under the age of 26.
- Limit your sexual partners and always practice safe sex to reduce your risk.
- Take extra care of yourself if you have a family history of oral cancer, and be honest with your dentist – although this kind of heredity can be scary, we can’t protect you if we’re unaware of medical conditions that have impacted your loved ones.
- Get screened at a younger age and get screened more frequently if you’re a man or if oral cancer runs in your family.
A VELscope screening test is a quick, painless way for our team to detect oral cancer when it is still easy to treat, so make this test a regular part of any office visit and checkup.
Now that you know the facts about oral cancer and how we can work together to save your smile – and your overall health – schedule your appointment with Vienna Smiles to get screened today!