According to the most recent numbers, oral cancer impacts nearly half a million people worldwide every year. Even worse, the mortality rate is very high because it’s often discovered too late. One of the most important things we do at Shoreline Dental Care is oral cancer screening. It’s not something we can show off on social media with before and after photos, but trust us, it is so important.
Although most people are aware of the risk factors that come with heavy smoking and drinking, most people don’t realize that oral cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone. It is so important to understand the facts so you can take good care of yourself and your loved ones. These are just a few things that we want you to know:
#1 – Lip Balm Can Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Too much exposure to UV rays can cause lip cancer, a type of oral cancer. Thankfully, cancer caused by UV rays has gone down in recent years, probably because we’ve all become more aware of the importance of adequate sun protection. If you’re going to be out in the sun, protect your lips with an SPF lip balm and reapply often.
#2 – HPV Can Cause Oropharyngeal Cancer
Recently, it’s been discovered that certain strains of HPV can put you at risk for oropharyngeal cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US, and it has over 100 different variations. Certain variations can be transmitted orally, and in some cases, lead to oral cancer. Right now, it’s unknown whether HPV alone causes oropharyngeal cancer or if other factors (like drinking and smoking) make people more susceptible.
#3 – You Might Not Feel Pain
Many people are surprised to learn that they have oral cancer because they do not feel any pain. Some people might have pain, but others may only see red or white patches in their mouth, have a sore throat, or may notice a slight change in the way their teeth feel when they close their mouth. If anything looks or feels different, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment to have it looked at by your dentist.
#4 – Oral Cancer is NOT a Deadly Diagnosis
When caught early, oral cancer is not a deadly diagnosis. In fact, early detection improves the survival rate to 80 percent or more. This is just another reason why it is so important to stay current on your twice-yearly dental exams. You may not have even realized it, but at every exam, we’re also performing an oral cancer screening for you!
We don’t want to scare you, but we do want to make sure you come in to see us regularly so we can make sure you’re healthy! We want you to live a long and happy life, and that’s why we’ve invested in the latest screening technology. Even if you don’t have any risk factors for oral cancer, it’s still important that you get tested often. Here’s to your continued health!