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April is Oral Cancer awareness month, so DentistUSA.com would like to take the time educate our readers about Oral Cancer.  There are many factors that affect the development of oral cancer.  According to WebMD, they include:

  • Smoking: Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.
  • Smokeless tobacco users. Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age.”

Though the majority of oral cancer cases are in individuals who smoke or drink, 27% of the people who get oral cancer have no risk factors at all.  More than 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year.

Dentists will usually conduct an oral cancer screening exam at your visit.  They will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face and oral cavity.  Some dentists even offer an advanced screening exam called vizilite screening at your checkup to look for symptoms of oral cancer.  Below, you can find a video explaining this screening process:

We highly recommend making twice yearly visits to your dentist as the earlier it is caught, the better chances you have of treating the cancer.