During a dental visit, it would be a good idea to get an oral cancer screening to see if you are at risk of developing oral cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 49,700 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Getting screened for this disease will…
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
There are certain risk factors for oral cancer that are important to be mindful about. Along with routine oral cancer screenings from your dentist, it is encouraged to check for any early signs of oral cancer every so often, especially if you meet one or more of the criteria for being at higher risk.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
By understanding these risk factors, you can better prepare yourself and take the necessary precautions to minimize the chance of developing the condition. The following are five of the more notable risk factors that indicate a person might be at higher risk of oral cancer.
There is a hereditary component to oral cancer, which means there seems to be an indication that a person has a greater chance of developing the condition if another member of their family had it in the past. Of course, there are many contributing factors to the development of oral cancer, but it is encouraged to visit the dentist for an oral cancer screening if oral cancer runs in the family.
Tobacco is believed by many experts to be the most notable risk factor of oral cancer, and there seems to be a strong correlation between the use of tobacco in any form and cancer of the cheeks, gums, lips, head and neck. Subsequently, most dentists encourage patients who smoke to try and defeat the ugly habit.
Alcohol also puts people at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. Of course, having a glass of wine with dinner is not a bad thing. The frequent consumption of large amounts of alcohol, however, is very detrimental to long-term health and may lead to the onset of oral cancer.
Many studies suggest there is also a link between prolonged sun exposure and oral cancer, particularly cancer of the lip area. Similar to tobacco and alcohol use, minimal levels of sun exposure do not contribute to oral cancer. However, dentists encourage patients to protect themselves from UV radiation when outside for prolonged periods of time.
The HPV virus, otherwise known as the human papillomavirus, also puts people at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, particularly cancer in the tongue or throat. HPV is most commonly transmitted through sexual activity, and it is important to reduce the risk by practicing safe sex and limiting the number of sexual partners.
Visit a dentist for an oral cancer screening
An oral cancer screening is a great way to detect the earliest signs of oral cancer, which allows dentists and doctors to start treatment as soon as possible if cancer does exist. On the other hand, ruling out cancer allows people to live a more relaxed life, knowing they are free of oral cancer. If you are interested in learning more about oral cancer risk factors or would like to schedule a time for an oral cancer screening, consult with us today and find out how we can help.
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