The recent death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn sends a clear message about the risks and dangers of one of major league baseball’s favorite pastimes, chewing tobacco.
Gwynn died of salivary gland cancer. He was only 54 years old.
Gwynn blamed his cancer on chewing tobacco, a habit he had had since he was a rookie. A right fielder considered to be one of the best and most consistent hitters of all time, Gwynn played 20 seasons for the San Diego Padres. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Recent reports say while the incidence of many types of cancers is actually on the decline, oral cancers are on the rise. According to the American Cancer Society, 37,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and 7,300 will die.
Most of the recent spike in oral cancers is reportedly attributed to the spread of HPV, or human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease. Regardless of the cause, officials across the health industry are using Gwynn’s death to illustrate the need for more frequent and thorough oral cancer screenings. In many cases, they say, cancers of the mouth and throat can be treated successfully if detected in its early stages.
Your dentist can screen for oral cancer during your routine dental examination. But if you are experiencing any pain, discomfort or red or white patches within your mouth or throat area, you should contact your doctor or dentist immediately.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates
The American Cancer Society states that approximately 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. Many of these will unfortunately be fatal due to never being detected or that they were simply detected too late. Symptoms of oral cancer may go unnoticed or not be evident until it has progressed into a more aggressive state. While risk factors such as HPV, tobacco and alcohol use can increase your risk of developing oral cancer; some people who have no risk factors at all may still develop the disease.
One reason that it’s so important to see a dentist for routine preventive care appointments is to have an oral cancer screening performed at every visit. Oral cancer screenings performed by your dentist or registered dental hygienist can detect cancer and even save your life. Visually examining and palpating your hard and soft tissues of the head and neck enable your practitioner to identify abnormalities that could possibly be precancerous or cancerous. Not all cancers are obvious, but most lesions will appear on only one side of the mouth, head or neck, and typically have a different texture, color, texture or border than what is considered healthy or normal.
Some dentists now provide advanced oral cancer screenings that use light technology to identify precancerous tissues that are not visible to the naked eye. Chemical reactions to a liquid application become visible under a special light, which enable detection of abnormalities long before they would appear on the surface of the tissue. Many dental insurance companies are beginning to cover these advanced oral cancer screenings, but even if your plan does not carry them they are typically very affordable to most dental patients.
Posted of the behalf of Justin Scott
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