What is Oral Cancer (Mouth Cancer) ?

Oral cancer is the cancer of the mouth and surrounding tissues. Other common names include mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. Close to 50,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2017.  For over ten years, the rate of occurrence of mouth cancer is continually rising.

There are two main risk factors that can lead to the development of mouth cancer.  First is the use of tobacco and alcohol.  The second which is a more newly identified link is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16, not to be confused with the Herpes virus which cause cold sores) commonly through oral sex. This the same virus that is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. It is this link that has led to the HPV vaccine being offered to males in addition to females under the vaccination program offered in British Columbia. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no identifiable cause that is most likely related to genetics

Although not as common as breast or lung cancer,  oral cancer is diagnosed in about 132 new individuals each day in the United States, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day.  Annual new cases of oral cancer in Canada exceed 3,000 and in the world are over 640,000!

When discovered and diagnosed in the early stages of development, oral cancer has an 80 to 90 % survival rate.   However most oral cancers are discovered in the  later stages. This results in a very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis, and high morbidity in survivors related to the severity of surgery, radiation and possible chemotherapy.

Early discovery is not happening often enough due to a combination of lack of public awareness and a lack of regular national screening program.

This is why regular examinations at the dentist like at North Delta Dental are so vital.  Not only are your teeth and gums being examined, but the dental health professionals at our North Delta and Surrey dental office also regularly examine all of your surrounding tissues to look for any potential abnormalities.

Contact our North Delta Dental team at 604-596-9900 to schedule your oral cancer screening today!  

#mouthcancer #tonguecancer #oralcancer  #cancerawarenessmonth #HPV

*information provided by http://oralcancerfoundation.org and http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/complications/diseases/oral_cancer.asp
*image credits to http://oralcancerfoundation.org

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