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What Is Oral Cancer?

Dentist Holding Up Burgundy Ribbon

Oral Cancer, more technically known as oropharyngeal cancer, is one of the conditions that Dr. Simpson will check for during your visit to our clinic. This disease has become increasingly common across all ages in recent years, making regular visits to your dentist even more important. To learn more about this dangerous condition, its causes, and why seeing your dentist regularly can save your life, keep reading.

How Common Is Oral Cancer?

This cancer sees up to 53,000 new diagnoses every year and has a high mortality rate if not caught early enough. Of the patients who receive a new oral cancer diagnosis each year, just under half of them risk not surviving the five years to come. This means that at every hour of every day, someone in the United States is dying from oral cancer, though recent innovations in care and identification have reduced that number. Some years ago, 50% of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer would die; that number has been reduced to 43%. Throughout the world, nearly 450,000 new cases are identified each passing year.

Why Is Oral Cancer So Deadly?

The reality of the matter is, while this disease is quite dangerous, the death rate doesn’t have to be this high. Oral cancer is quite treatable when caught early enough in its life cycle, meaning that the highest contributing factor to the death rate is late stage identification. Regular visits to your dentist give you the highest possibility of the disease being caught early and treated effectively. Without regular dental care, the most common source of an oral cancer diagnosis is it metastasizing, meaning it spread to other areas of the body. This means that the fight against oral cancer is no longer confined to the mouth and throat and that it is deeply set at its point of origin.

Who’s At Risk Of Oral Cancer?

Age used to be a major defining factor, with the majority of diagnoses still taking place in those over the age of 40. Unfortunately, there has been a growing occurrence of this disease in younger patients. The reasons for this are still under investigation, but the most prominent research indicates the involvement of HPV16. Smokeless chewing tobacco has also been identified as a major contributor. While safer than smoking in terms of lung cancer, it provides no benefit in overall cancers when taking into account its role in causing oral cancer. As of the latest research, HPV16 is the outstanding reason for younger patients developing this condition, outstripping even smokeless tobacco use. HPV16 is the same virus that has been linked with occurrences of cervical cancer.

If it’s been more than six months since your last visit to the dentist, it’s time to call and get an appointment with Dr. Scott T Simpson in Tigard, OR. Appletree Dentist is proud to serve Tigard, Portland, and the surrounding areas with compassionate, family-oriented care. Call our offices to arrange your next appointment today!

Dr. Scott T. Simpson At AppleTree Dentistry, Dr. Scott T Simpson set out to create a caring environment focused on dentistry for families. Dr. Simpson graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry in 2005, going on to practice as a dentist in the USAF for three years before being honorably discharged.
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