April is National Oral Cancer Awareness month, a time when the dental community and health professionals alike rally together to fight against a serious disease. Did you know that oral cancer has a death rate of at least one person per hour of every day of the year? Literally, of those patients that will be diagnosed this year, it’s only estimated that 60% will live longer than five years. Those that do survive end up suffering from long-term issues like facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and speaking. The most shocking part of all this is that oral cancer has an 80-90% retention rate! The reason why a lot of patients end up suffering from oral cancer rather than being able to reverse its effects is that many patients don’t take the time to receive an oral cancer screening in Medina like they need and deserve to.
We’re All at Risk
What determines who gets oral cancer? When it comes down to the realities of life, everyone is at risk for oral cancer. But, it’s important to be aware of your personal risk and take steps to lessen it. Around 91% of all diagnoses are linked to the lifestyle you choose to indulge in. By altering our lifestyle choices by keeping our health in mind, we can cut the chances of developing oral cancer.
Believe it or not, tobacco accounts for two in every three oral cancer cases! Do you still think that 1 in 5 people would smoke tobacco products? There are thousands of chemicals contained in a single cigarette and they are entering your body through our mouth. Also, if you’re exposing your family members to second-hand smoke, you’re increasing their chances of developing cancer as well. By quitting smoking, you could reduce you and your family’s risk of developing oral cancer by a whole third.
Just because you don’t smoke tobacco, doesn’t mean you’re not still taking the toxins in your body. Chewing tobacco directly effects your mouth because you absorb the chemicals through your gums, making them very vulnerable and weak to decay, disease, and infections.
Alcoholic beverages in large amounts also severely increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Moderation is key with alcohol consumption for not just your oral health, but your overall health. The risk of contracting oral cancer is increased by a third for excessive alcohol consumers.
If you are a mixed consumer, meaning you smoke and drink excessively, you are increasing your risk for oral cancer by up to 30 times! It is especially important to visit your Medina dentist to receive regular (or more frequent) oral cancer screenings if you continue or have participated in these risky habits.
Yes, oral cancer is a disease with complex risks. Not only do the roles of alcohol and smoking increase your chances of developing oral cancer, but your genetics also play a part. The more susceptible you are to infections because of deficiencies in your DNA like HIV, HPV, herpes type 1, or medications that suppress the immune system, the higher your chances are of developing an additional disease.
Get screened today!
Cancer is a touchy subject that normally isn’t discussed. It can be easy to ignore the tell-tale signs or be unaware to how you’re putting yourself at risk.
That’s why our dentists believe in supporting Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Our team takes this health threat seriously. Medina Family Dentistry provides oral cancer screenings as a vital part of your regular checkup. Dr. Milewski will thoroughly review your oral tissues, head, and neck area for symptoms that you may not be able to see. If he notices anything suspicious, we can discuss moving forward with a biopsy to get you a concrete diagnosis.
Contact our Medina office to take initiative in your long-term health!