Oral cancer can be very dangerous, but if it is caught early, chances of recovery significantly increase. Learn more about oral cancer and cancer screenings so that you can protect your health and your future.
What is oral cancer?
Who can get oral cancer?
Anyone can get oral cancer, not just people who smoke or chew tobacco. This is why it is important to get a cancer screening and go to your dentist for regular checkups so that problems get caught quickly.
The following people have an increased risk for oral cancer, so they should take extra precautions:
- People who drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol
- People who use tobacco products including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipes.
- People who’ve been exposed to too much UV radiation and sun damage
- People who contract HPV (the human papilloma virus)
- People over 40 years old
- People with a family history of cancer
What can you do to protect your health?
You may not be able to completely prevent oral cancer, but there are things you can do to lower your risks and protect your health.
- Stop using tobacco products. This isn’t always easy, but it is worth it to protect your health and increase your life expectancy and quality of life.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to the recommended amounts (recommendations vary depending on the type of alcohol and they are different for men and women).
- Ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine. HPV spreads easily and quickly. (Doctors often recommend administering the HPV vaccine when someone is between the ages of 11 and 13, but in some cases it can be administered to someone in their early 20s)
- Visit your dentist and doctor for regular checkups so that problems are noticed early.
- Schedule an oral cancer screening—catching oral cancer early drastically increases the odds of recover and survival.
If you’d like to learn more about oral cancer screenings and other tools for protecting your health and your teeth, schedule an appointment at Peters Dental Associates.