Oral Cancer: A New Epidemic
Cancer is not a topic that anyone likes to talk about, but recently there has been a spike in the cases of oral cancer diagnosed, particularly in men.
This sudden increase is related to HPV, or human papillomavirus, the primary cause of oropharyngeal cancers, certain types of head and neck cancers. Between 20011 and 2014, 11 million men and 3 million women were actively infected with oral HPV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during that time, nearly 40,000 people each year were diagnosed with HPV-related cancer.
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, but those who smoke tobacco or marijuana are also at a higher risk for developing the cancer-causing strain of HPV. One reason these cancers often go undetected until their later stages is that those with HPV may be unaware of it, and in some cases, the infection can lead to cancer years later.
Oral Cancer Screenings with Your Dentist
The good news is that, with semi-annual screenings by your dentist, oral cancer can be detected in its early stages when it can be treated more easily. Nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, so these early screenings are vital to your health and well-being.
The screening itself is performed as part of your exam and is nothing to worry about. Top dentist Dr. Cerina Fairfax examines your teeth, lips, and gums for any signs of abnormalities like white patches. She will also use her gloved hand to check for any lumps your mouth and neck.
Call Your Fairfax Dentist Today for An Appointment
Women can be tested for HPV at the same time they have their annual pap smear, but unfortunately, there is no such test for men. While the risk is high, oral cancer can be detected early and treated with an excellent prognosis.
Please call Dr. Fairfax & Associates today to arrange your next exam and oral cancer screening.