Fact: More people in the U.S. were diagnosed with mouth or throat cancer in 2017 than cancers of the cervix or stomach, according to an estimate by the Oral Cancer Foundation. Mouth and Throat cancers rank 6th among most common cancers worldwide, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International.
Fact: Although your oral cancer risk increases after age 50, not all forms of the disease are linked to age. A growing number of young people are developing the disease, due to a link between the cancer and sexually transmitted forms of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Fact: Nicotine and tobacco use is a major risk factor for oral cancer, but you can develop the disease even if you are not a smoker or use chewing tobacco. Drinking alcohol without smoking can still increase your risk, as can HPV. Genetics can also play a role in developing the disease.
Fact: You can lower your risk of oral cancer by quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and eating more veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Practice safe sex to reduce your risk of getting cancer-linked strains of HPV, and limit your exposure to the sun. Before heading outdoors, always apply lip balm with an SPF of at least 30.
Fact: Screening for oral cancer is a part of any comprehensive adult dental exam. The doctor or hygienist examines your mouth, tongue, throat and lymph nodes for any lumps, sores or discoloration. This screening is noninvasive and doesn't involve radiation. If the doctor or hygienist finds any signs of cancer, he or she will perform a biopsy or refer you to a specialist.
Fact: HPV-linked forms of mouth and throat cancer can occur in hard-to-notice places, such as the tonsils, the lymph nodes and the base of the tongue. This makes it especially important to visit the dentist for regular exams. Early diagnosis and treatment can help stop the cancer before it spreads, increasing your life expectancy.
Because early detection of oral cancer is so important, The John Fornetti Dental Center is holding a free Oral Cancer Screening day from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at our office. If you or someone you know could be at risk for oral cancer or does not regularly visit a dentist, stop by our office on this day to be screened for oral cancer free of charge. The screening only takes a few minutes and could save your life! Call (906)-774-0100 to find out more!