Oral cancer includes those cancers that develop in the tissues of the mouth, throat, tongue, and lips. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, nearly 50,000 news cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, usually occurring in those over the age of 40.
West Chester, OH dentist Joel R. Koch, DDS, includes a cancer screening in patients’ biannual dental checkups. There are plenty of misconceptions about oral cancer, and it is important to clarify what is a myth and what is the reality of this deadly disease.
Myth #1—I Don’t Smoke So I Am Not at Risk of Developing Oral Cancer
The reality is that anyone can develop oral cancer, although smoking and nicotine usage can contribute to a higher risk. Alcohol consumption is another risk factor, as is genetics.
Myth #2—I Am Under 40 So I Am Immune to the Disease
The reality is that although most people are over the age of 40 when they develop oral cancer, younger people are still at risk. Sexually transmitted disease, such as HPV (human papillomavirus), can greatly increase to an oral cancer diagnosis—regardless of age.
Myth #3—Oral Cancer Is a Rare Cancer I Am Unlikely to Develop
Given the fact that nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed annually, oral cancer most certainly does not fall into the “rare” category. In terms of cancer rankings all over the world, mouth and oral cancers are ranked quite highly. You can keep your risk factors low by avoiding smoking and using tobacco products, being aware of excessive alcohol consumption, and by taking advantage of screenings that are available.
Oral Exams in West Chester OH
Don’t let oral cancer myths keep you from getting to the dentist twice each year for an oral cancer screening. Early detection is key in treating this type of cancer successfully.
Call our West Chester, OH dental practice to make an appointment to see our dentist for a checkup that includes an oral cancer screening.