Everyone is well aware of the dangers of cancer. In fact, cancer has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States in recent years. When most people think of the “Big C”, they automatically think of what most assume to the worst – brain cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and others. However, there is another form of cancer, just as prevalent and deadly as any other, that many people often overlook. Oral cancer is on the rise, and not many people are aware. Not only is it becoming more common, but Oral cancer is also extremely deadly with a survival rate of only 50%. This is why it is more important than ever to arm yourself with information and have yourself tested for Oral cancer.
In the past, Oral cancer was thought to generally afflict older men, usually heavy smokers and drinkers with decades of health abuse. Indeed, Oral cancer is far more common in men than women, and while lifestyle choices and overall health do play a large factor, Oral cancer is no longer reserved for the older crowd – recent years have shown that the fastest growing section of the population to be diagnosed with Oral cancer is actually younger people between the ages of 25 and 50. Unfortunately, people in this age group are not often screened so a potentially life saving diagnoses can often go unprescribed. Screenings only take a few moments, so there’s absolutely no reason not to request one at your next annual dental checkup or cleaning.
Why are younger people suddenly becoming so much more susceptible to Oral cancer? It is now believed that there is a direct link between HPV, or the human papillomavirus and Oral cancers. Each year since 1984, researchers have reported 33,000 new cases of cancer in parts of the body where HPV has also been detected. As HPV is commonly spread through sexual activity, it is no surprise that cases of Oral and cervical cancer on are the rise among younger people. This is why it is more important than ever to get yourself tested. Early detection and prevention are key to avoiding cancer the complications that it entails. Oral cancer examinations merely consist of a painless visual inspection of the mouth, lips, and face for lesions or other signs of cancer and precancerous conditions. No further action is required unless symptoms are clearly detected.
At the end of the day, lifestyle choices combined with new health concerns such as HPV are to blame for the rise of Oral cancer in young people – tobacco use, prolonged sun exposure and tanning, and excessive alcohol consumption all increase the risk of cancer and other conditions. The good news is that prevention is easily accomplished by engaging in proper dental hygiene and making other healthy lifestyle choices. The quick and painless screening process also makes getting yourself checked out annually a piece of cake. With early detection, the chances of surviving Oral cancer increase from 50% to 80%, so be sure to schedule a screening with Union Dental today!