THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ORAL CANCER

Jessica SAYS!
Health Canada has made the following statement: 

“A growing body of evidence suggests that Canadians are increasingly at risk for oral cancer. It is now the 13th most common diagnosed cancer in Canada. It is believed that extremely low awareness level on the risk factors and prevention behaviours, among the general population, and gaps in knowledge and practices on the part of health professionals that have contributed to increasing incidence and late stage diagnosis – often with fatal results.”…..”Oral cancer is both preventable and screenable.”

Approximately 70% of oral cancer is discovered at the late stage 3 or 4. Early diagnosis of oral cancer through screening and early detection is critical. Dental professionals are in a unique position to identify these lesions and give appropriate recommendations that expedite referral and treatment.


Risk factors related to oral cancer:

1 – Age and Gender – Men are more susceptible than women. Ratio of 2:1.
2 – High consumption of alcohol, especially when combined with the use of tobacco products (This includes smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, chewing betel quid, paan, areca nut, hookah, cigarettes and cigars).
3 – Prolonged exposure to UV light – Sun and tanning beds.
4 – Dietary factors – Diet low in fruits and vegetables.
5 – Chronic irritation.
6 – HPV infection (particularly strands 16 and 18)
There is an alarming emergence of an atypical profile. Historical risk factors are on the decline. The fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population is people between 20-30 years old who are non smokers. 70% of all new oral cancer victims have none of the historical risk factors.  This is attributed to the presence of human papillomavirus. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., yet less than one third of the general population has even heard of it.

Oral cancer prevention:

1 – Reduce your alcohol consumption.
2 – Quit smoking and stop (reduce) using tobacco products.
3 – If sexually active be sure to use protection.
4 – When outside and exposed to the sun use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF.
5 – Eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables.
6 – Visit your dental professional regularly for cleanings and check ups.
7 – Brush and floss you teeth daily.

Brampton Dentist
Blog by: Jessica RDH
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