While oral cancer makes up only a small portion of all annual cancer cases, it is still a serious problem. Oral cancer cases that are diagnosed in the early stages of development have a significantly improved survival rate — up to 80 percent after five years.
For this reason, Novato family dentist wants you to be aware of risk factors for oral cancer that might affect you.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
The following risk factors can’t be changed, but raising your awareness can help you report any potential problems when treatment options and positive outcomes are greatest.
- Heredity – There’s sufficient evidence to suggest that the probability of oral cancer can run in families even if no other risk factors like smoking or alcohol use are present.
- Age– More than 90 percent of all oral cancers occur in individuals over 40. However, the incidence among younger people has been on the uptick recently, perhaps related to lifestyle behaviors.
- Race – African Americans have a higher incidence of oral cancer than Caucasians.
- The following are risk factors that can and should be addressed:
- Smoking tobacco use – Smokers are at five to nine times greater risk for developing oral cancer
- Alcohol – Moderate to heavy drinkers are at three to nine times greater risk; the higher the alcohol content, the greater the risk
- Chronic sun exposure – Often connected with lip cancers
As part of your routine oral hygiene, you should closely monitor any changes in your mouth that don’t diminish in a few days, e.g., ulcers, sores, or white or red patches on the tongue. We care about your overall wellness, so our dentist always performs an oral cancer screening as part of your regular check-ups.
Please Contact Us for More Information
We want to do everything possible to keep your oral health and your general health on track. Please contact your Novato family dentist to arrange your next exam, including an oral cancer screening by Dr. McConnell.