In the US, oral cancer kills about 1 person every hour. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2022, roughly 54,000 new cases of oral or oropharyngeal cancers will be diagnosed. About 1 in every 5 cases will occur in people under 55 years old. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing oral cancer or oropharyngeal cancers is about 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women. In recent years, there has been an increase in younger people being diagnosed with oral cancer due to HPV (human papillomavirus).
Where does Oral Cancer occur?
Oral and oropharyngeal cancers are most commonly found on the tongue, tonsils and oropharynx, gums, floor of the mouth, lips, minor salivary glands (typically the roof of the mouth), along with other parts of the mouth.
Listed below are some common factors that have been found in many of the people that have been diagnosed with oral cancer.
- Tobacco: cigarettes, pipes, vapes, cigars, snuff, and chew. The more you use these products, the greater your risk at developing cancer. Continuing to use these products after cancer treatments can greatly increase your risk of developing a second cancer in the lungs, mouth, throat, voice box, or other organs.
- Alcohol dries out the mouth and makes it more porous. Cancer-causing chemical are made by alcohol breaking down bacteria in the mouth. Alcohol produces chemicals which poisons cells and damages their DNA when it breaks down in the body.
- Smoking and Drinking together increases your risk of oral cancer by 30%.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) type 16 is most commonly linked to oral cancers, especially at the base of the tongue and throat. It has become more common in young people who have a history of multiple sex partners and no history of tobacco use or alcohol abuse.
- Overweight and Poor Nutrition (diet low in fruits and vegetables) increases your risk for oral and oropharynx cancer.
- UV Light exposure increases your risk for cancers of the lip. It’s important to wear SPF lip balm outdoors.
- Poorly Fitting Dentures can trap particles (such as alcohol or tobacco) against the gums. To avoid this, have your dentures checked by Dr. Marion every 6 months, rinse them throughout the day, and clean and remove them at night while sleeping.
How to lessen your risk
Avoiding all of the risks listed above will help lessen your risk on contracting oral cancer. Another key item is to be sure your maintaining optimal oral health. Brushing your teeth and gums twice a day, flossing daily, and getting a professional cleaning, x-rays and exam every 6 months will help keep normal bacteria in the mouth and catch cavities and infections when they are smaller and more manageable.
At each 6 month exam, Dr. Marion with the aid of his magnification loops, checks your mouth, lips, tongue, cheeks, and neck for signs of oral cancer. However, anything caught during a visual examination is likely abnormalities that are in their later stages. That’s why Marion Smile Center providers use a high tech piece of equipment called the VELscope which can detect abnormalities, such as oral cancer, in deeper tissue. “If oral cancer is discovered early, the survival rate is over 85%. If discovered late, it is only about 40%.” Dr. Marion and our highly trained hygienists scan your tongue, cheeks, tonsils, lips, palate, gums, and throat with “blue spectrum light to stimulate natural tissue fluorescence, which can be viewed directly through the VELscope.” This shows abnormal tissue that can not be seen with the naked eye. Dr. Mark Marion and the ADA recommend getting screened with the VELscope once a year for high risk patients and every 2 years for lower risk.
½ Off Oral Cancer Screening in Zelienople, PA
We want to thank our patients for trusting our team to provide excellent dental care to you and your loved ones. In honor of the Thanksgiving, Marion Smile Center is offering 50% off oral cancer screenings the month of November with the VELscope! That’s only $22 to get screened and possibly save you from extensive facial surgeries or save your life. To learn more about Oral Cancer Screenings or other services offered in Zelienople, PA, click here.
If you’re looking for a professional and caring dental team in the Butler County area please call Marion Smile Center at 724.452.4300 or click here to reserve a time.