Dental Tips Blog

Apr
9

HPV and Oral Cancer

Posted in Oral Cancer

When a very famous actor recently announced that he had contracted throat cancer from an HPV infection, it struck terror through the hearts of millions of Americans and brought attention to the issue like never before.

HPV, Humanpapilloma Virus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease, or STD. It can be contracted through oral, vaginal or anal sex.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, those who contract it can have no symptoms at all or a variety of symptoms, ranging from genital warts to cancers of the throat, mouth, anus or cervix. Sometimes, symptoms can appear years after contracting HPV.

As a precaution, the CDC recommends that all Americans be tested for HPV and be inoculated with the HPV vaccine. The CDC is even recommending the vaccine for children as young as 11 years old, a subject that has been understandably very controversial among parents.

Here’s another alarming fact about HPV: Recent research has linked it to the development of as much as a fifth of all cases of oral and throat cancer. Other risk factors include age, tobacco and alcohol use and poor diet.

In April, which is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, your local dentists and dental hygienists urge you to take advantage of the free oral cancer screenings that are being offered or, better yet, schedule a regular dental examination and ask that an oral cancer screening be a routine part of it.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

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Nov
21

You Mean Smokers Aren’t The Only Ones at Risk for Oral Cancer?

Posted in Oral Cancer

When you think of oral cancer, who do you think is mostly at risk to develop such a condition? We’ve been brought up to think that unless we use tobacco or alcohol products heavily, we aren’t going to have to worry about oral cancer. Yes, these products are directly related with a higher risk of oral cancer, but there are also many seemingly healthy individuals that develop the condition each and every year.

The American Cancer Society estimates that this year alone, 30,000 oral cancer cases will be diagnosed. Many of these people have never used tobacco products, yet are devastated to find out from their dentist or physician that they have the condition.

Another risk factor includes HPV, the same virus that is linked with cervical cancer. This virus has been found to cause mouth and throat cancers in some patients.

Signs of oral cancer include areas in the mouth that are unilateral (only on one side), and appear as areas that are red, white, or sores that do not heal. By the time these areas are significant enough for a patient to notice them on their own, it is usually very far into the disease progression and there is an increased risk of morbidity.

Thankfully, your dentist can screen for oral cancer at your routine dental appointment. Whether your dentist uses a clinical evaluation or an advanced cancer screening technique, identifying abnormal or precancerous tissue early on is the most effective way to combat cases of oral cancer. If an abnormal area is identified, your dentist will simply collect some sample tissue to send off to a laboratory for diagnosis. Seeing your dentist every 6 months is one of the best ways you can protect yourself against oral cancer.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

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