Cancer is undeniably a serious disease, with over one hundred variations. Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers affect the mouth and throat. Like other cancers, early detection greatly increases successful recovery rates. By always providing screening as part of your routine checkup, the Marconi Dental Group assists with the early detection of cancer cells in the mouth. However, the best way to defend against oral cancer is to avoid behaviors that increase your risk.
Age, gender, and genetic syndromes are contributing factors to oral cancer (for example, males over the age of forty are most commonly diagnosed with it). These factors are uncontrollable, but should factor into personal decision-making about risky habits. For example, the following factors can be controlled.
- Tobacco use — Tobacco products (and betel nut) cause gum disease, destruction of the bone sockets around teeth, and tooth loss. Whether smoked or chewed, tobacco causes cancers in the mouth and throat.
- Alcohol consumption — About 7 out of 10 patients with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. The risks dramatically increase for those who use tobacco products together with alcohol.
- Sun exposure — Prolonged sun exposure through the years from outdoor jobs or recreation often leads to skin cancer around the face and neck, as well as lip cancer – unless you use proper UV protection.
- Diet — Especially when low in fruits and vegetables, studies show a poor diet can increase your risk of oral cancer.
- HPV infection — Human papillomavirus, or HPV, can cause some types of cancer, including oropharyngeal cancers. HPV is linked to these cancers and research on the connection continues. Consult with your dentist about HPV treatment.
Treating, reducing, or eliminating any of these factors greatly decreases your risk of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers. Early detection is important for successful treatment. Please schedule your next checkup with the Marconi Dental Group so we can help prevent this disease from becoming an issue for you, especially if you are in any of the above mentioned risk groups.