The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that each year almost 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and this number is steadily increasing. It is an aggressive form of cancer and, unfortunately, only slightly more than half of patients diagnosed will be alive in five years.
Nobody likes to talk about cancer of any kind, and oral cancer can be particularly frightening. Reluctance to discuss it may explain why there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the disease.
We would like to share a few of the myths associated with oral cancer and the facts.
Myth 1: Oral cavity and pharynx cancer cases are uncommon.
Reality: The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017. Compare this to the estimated number of stomach and cervical cancer cases, which are 28,000 and 12,820 respectively.
Myth 2: Only smokers get oral cancer.
Reality: Smoking is a known risk factor for oral cancer, but so is alcohol. Almost 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Another fast-growing pathway for these cancers is a strain of the human papillomavirus known as HPV16.
Myth 3: Oral cancer only occurs in older people.
Reality: Older adults are at higher risk for oral cancer, but the HPV connection usually involves much younger patients. These patients are primarily male and often non-smokers.
Call Us for Your Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings make it easy to for your dentist to detect or diagnose the disease. The reason fatalities are so high is that it is usually not diagnosed until late in its development. But with early detection and treatment, the five-year survival rate is close to 90%.
Your overall health is as important to us as your dental health, so every exam at our Hershey, PA dental office includes an oral cancer screening. If you have never been checked for oral cancer, we urge you to contact top dentist Dr. Wesley Davis to arrange an appointment.