Top 5 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013, 12:55 am

There are many risk factors for oral cancer. Oral cancer typically manifests as a sore or growth in the mouth that does not go away. However this cancer can also affect the lips, tongue, hard and soft palette, cheeks, pharynx (throat), sinuses, or floor of the mouth. Oral cancers cannot be ignored and early detection and treatment greatly increases survival rates. Sadly, most cases are not diagnosed until they are in a more advanced stage.

The American Cancer Societyconcluded that men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer than women, and that men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of anyone. A number of other factors may contribute to the development of this cancer as well. Let’s look at the most common causes below.

Top 5 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

  1. Smoking. People who smoke cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or any other tobacco product are six times more likely to develop some kind of oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  2. Smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip users are 50 times as likely to develop cancer in the gums, cheeks, and linings of the lips as those who don’t use smokeless tobacco.
  3. Alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is a major contributor, as drinkers are six times as likely to get oral cancer as nondrinkers.
  4. Family history. As with other cancers, a history of relatives with oral cancer increases the likelihood that you will develop it yourself.
  5. The sun. Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age, can have a profound effect on your risk of developing oral cancer.

A rapidly increasing number of oral cancer cases, especially in younger patients, are caused by HPV infection. If you know that you have been exposed to the virus you should be even more aware of the signs of oral cancer and seek regular screenings.

    It is important that everyone visit a dentist for routine check-ups and part of the checkup is an examination for oral cancer. Contact your dental professional if you begin showing any signs or symptoms of this condition, like persistent sores or growths. This disease typically becomes life-threatening when it goes undiagnosed for an extended period of time. At Wilbanks Smile Center, we screen for and biopsy oral cancer, and provide safe and effective treatment options like tumor removal.

    Oral Cancer Screening and Biopsies in Toccoa

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding oral cancer, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and you can reach us at (706) 886-9439. We look forward to serving you.

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