Oral Cancer Awareness month

Let's End Oral Cancer!

April 3rd, 2020

Many may not know much about oral cancer, but not to worry, we've got you covered! April is Oral Cancer Awareness month throughout the United States, and we are excited to join the Oral Cancer Foundation's (OCF) fight to end oral cancer by spreading awareness. Spreading information on oral cancer can help lead to earlier detection and thus save lives! According to the OCF, about 53,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. It's estimated to be about 132 new people each day. Sadly, one person will die from oral cancer every hour of every day of the year. In fact, oral and pharyngeal cancers have a high death rate which is highly attributed due to late detection of the cancer. Surprisingly, oral cancer is becoming widely seen in young, healthy, nonsmoking people possibly because of the increased risk of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16). However, individuals who smoke tobacco are also still high risk. The majority of oral cancers are classified as oral squamous cell carcinomas.

Let's dive in to some of the risk factors of oral cancer:

  • Men are two times more likely to have oral cancer than women.
  • Approximately 25% have no known risk factors.
  • Infection with the sexually transmitted HPV16 virus
  • Alcohol and tobacco, including vaping, smokeless tobacco, pipe smoking, etc. (Individuals who use both in combination are 15 times more at risk)
  • Prolonged sun exposure increases risk of developing lip cancer
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Infectious diseases
  • Chronic physical trauma

Potential Signs and Symptoms:

  • A sore or lump on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal (monitored by dental professional, typically for 2 weeks)
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsils or lining of the mouth
  • Bleeding, pain or numbness in the lip or mouth
  • Change in voice
  • Loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit well
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Jaw swelling
  • Sore throat

Some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. Early Detection is key! It is important to check your oral cavity regularly to identify any changes. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends performing these self-exams monthly. It is also necessary to keep up with your regular dental appointments and to notify your dentist if you notice anything unusual.

If a definitive diagnosis of oral cancer is determined and staged, treatment will involve multiple disciplines likely including surgeons, oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation and restorative specialists.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.aaoms.org/media/raise-oral-cancer-awareness/posters-and-infographics

https://www.aaoms.org/docs/media/oral_cancer/2017_oral_cancer_fact_sheet.pdf

https://oralcancerfoundation.org/events/oral-head-neck-cancer-awareness-month/

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Stop Oral Cancer- Be Aware!

April 24th, 2019

You may have noticed that your dentist checks for more than just cavities during your dental exam. This includes an oral cancer screening. In 2019, about 53,000 people in America will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Sadly, approximately one person every hour each day dies due to these cancers, and 40% of the individuals newly diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal cancer do not survive longer than 5 years.  This notably high death rate is is mainly caused by late diagnoses of these cancer! Fortunately, when these cancers are found and treated early, the death rate and other health complications become less common.That's why this Oral Cancer Awareness month we are spreading the word that early detection saves lives! Luckily, maintaining your regular dental visits can help inform you of any harmful developments and cancers early, and keep your oral and overall health in check. Take a look at the common risk factors of oral and oropharyngeal factors and how you can lower your risk:

There are several factors that may influence the development of oral cancer. There has been a lot of research showing that heavy alcohol and tobacco users who are middle aged often present with oral cancers, but there is a current shift to younger individuals who are developing oral cancers due to the rise of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus 16 (HPV).

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

The CDC reports that there have been approximately 9,000 cases of head and neck cancer associated with HPV each year in America. Most of the cancers associated with this sexually transmitted disease occur at the back of the tongue or around the tonsils, with a majority of the cases being found in younger nonsmoking individuals. The death rate and chance of it reoccuring is often low, but detection is often late.

The signs of HPV-realted cancers often present as a painless swelling in the neck area, sore throat, trouble or pain when swallowing, ulcerations, and/or swelling in the tonsillar area that last for longer than 2-3 weeks.

Gender

Oral cancers are two times more prevalent in men than women.

Age

HPV related oral and oropharyngeal cancers are often seen in younger individuals, while a majority of cancers associated with other factors tend to be found in individuals aged 50 years or older.

Smoking

Tobacco in any form creates a higher risk for developing oral cancers, in addition to cancers found throughout the body. Individuals who use a pipe to smoke often develop cancer of the lips. Chewing tobacco can cause several problems in the oral cavity even in addition to cancer.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a significant risk factor for the development of oral cancer. The American Cancer Society states that 7 out of 10 oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers (An average of two drinks a day for men, and more than one drink a day for women). Smoking in combination with drinking also increases your risk significantly higher.

Be attentive to any signs or symptoms that appear abnormal to you and make sure you are regularly visiting your dentist and health care professional. 

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.

References:

https://www.aaom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=140:april-is-oral-cancer-awareness-month

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/Oral-Cancer-Slideshow?utm_source=mouthhealthyorg&utm_medium=mhrotator&utm_content=oral-cancer-awareness

https://oralcancerfoundation.org/events/oral-head-neck-cancer-awareness-month/

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