Early Oral Cancer Screening
Screening Technology to Fight Against Oral Cancer
Every hour of every day, in the United States, one American dies of oral cancer. This deadly disease is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths with no significant improvement in the survival rate in the past 40 years.
In fact, while the American Cancer Society recently reported that overall cancer deaths and incidence have decreased, the oral cancer death rate increased by 5.5% and the incidence increased by 1.5%.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors – Early Detection
- Gender – Oral cancer risk factor: Oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer are twice as common in men as in women. This difference may be related to the use of alcohol and tobacco, a major oral cancer risk factor that is seen more commonly in men than women. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing among oral cancer patients as more women are using tobacco and drinking.
- Age – Oral cancer risk factor: The average at diagnosis for oral cancer is 62, and two-thirds of individuals with this disease are over age 55. Ultraviolet Light: Cancers of the lip are more common among people who work outdoors or others with prolonged exposure to sunlight. Poor nutrition: Studies have found a link between diets low in fruits and vegetables and an increased oropharynx and oral cancer risk.
- Genetic syndromes – Oral cancer risk factor: Some inherited genetic mutations, which cause different syndromes in the body, carry a high risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Such as Fanconi anemia and Dyskeratosis congenital. Tobacco use: About 80% of people with oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers use tobacco in the form of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or snuff. The risk of developing oral cancer depends on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Smoking can lead to cancer in the mouth or throat, and oral tobacco products are associated with cancer in the cheeks, gums and inner surface of the lips.
- Alcohol – Oral cancer risk factor: About 70% of people diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. This risk is higher for people who use both alcohol and tobacco. For people who smoke and drink heavily, the risk of oral cancer may be as high as 100% more than the risk for people who do not smoke or drink.
- Human Papilloma virus (HPV) – Oral cancer risk factor: Human papilloma viruses include about 100 similar viruses. Many HPV’s cause warts, but some are involved in cancer. Most noteworthy HPV is tied to the development of cervical cancer. HPV is also a risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancers. About 25% of patients with these cancers are infected with the same HPVs as are seen in cervical cancer. There is a strong link between HPV-16 and oropharyngeal cancer. HPV appears to be a more serious risk factor for oropharyngeal cadre than for oral cavity cancers. People with oral cancers linked HPV tend not to be smokers or drinkers and usually have a good prognosis. Typically HPV infections in the mouth and throat don not produce any symptoms and only a small percentage of these infections develop into cancer. There has been a recent increase in HPV-related cancers.
- Immune system suppression – Oral cancer risk factor: Taking drugs that suppress the immune system, such as those used to prevent rejection of a transplant organ or to treat certain immune disease may increase the risk of oral cancer.
- Lichen planus – Oral cancer risk factor: People with a severe case of this illness, which usually causes an itchy rash but sometimes appears as white lines or spots in the mouth and throat, may have a higher risk of oral cancer. Lichen planus usually affects middle-aged people.
- Graft-versus-host disease – Oral cancer risk factor: This condition can occur after a stem-cell transplant,, in which bone marrow is replaced following cancer occurrence or treatment. The new stem cells may have an immune response against the patient’s own cells, and tissues in the body may be destroyed as a result. GVHD increases the likelihood of oral cancer as soon as two years later.
If any of these oral cancer symptoms or signs are present for days or weeks Dr. Gerber may recommend additional screening or testing for oral cancer. At each Periodic Examination Dr. Gerber routinely screens the oral cavity for Oral Cancer. If you have any questions regarding Oral Cancer or would like to have an examination please call 310-652-0450 or email Dr. Robert Gerber and the Tower Dental Group