April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. We don’t hear as much about oral cancer as some other types of cancer, but it’s a serious risk that increases as we get older. In fact, The American Cancer Society states that nearly 35,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed, and nearly 7,000 people will die of oral cancer this year alone. (Source: ACS, revised 02.26.2013). I want to make sure my dental patients in Chesapeake are aware of this disease, as well as its prevention.
Oral Cancer Risks
If you smoke or use tobacco and/or abuse alcohol, your risk of getting oral cancer can be as much as 300 times higher than non-users. (Source: National Institutes of Health, 2006.) Even the alcohol in mouthwash can add to that risk.
Another risk that most people aren’t aware of is HPV, or the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and genital cancers. It can also cause oral cancers, and is as much a risk as alcohol and tobacco abuse. If you know that you have HPV, or are concerned about it, you may want to have more frequent checkups and cancer screens. Talk to your primary care doctor, and talk to us if you’re comfortable doing so. Anything you tell us will be in the strictest confidence.
If you haven’t had a checkup recently, call us at the Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry in Chesapeake and schedule your appointment today. It’s just one short appointment that can potentially make a big difference in your life!