April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

  • Monday, April 28, 2014

Charleston-area dentist, Amanda Seay, DDS, AAACD, one of 359 AACD Accredited Dentists in the world and a Clinical Instructor at the Kois Center, wants Oral Cancer Awareness Month well recognized through education and health screenings with a goal of prevention through early detection.

The fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population is non-smokers under age 50.

Got your attention? Good.

More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year.

Oral cancer will cause more than 8,000 deaths - killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day.

Of those 43,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only 57 percent will be alive in five years.

The death rate for oral cancer is higher than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer, skin cancer (malignant melanoma) or endocrine system cancers such as thyroid. Of all head and neck cancers, oral cancer comprises about 85 percent of that category.

Oral cancer’s death rate is high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages, it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can prosper without producing pain or symptoms easily recognized, and because it has a high risk of recurrence.

Tobacco use in all its forms is number one on the list of risk factors in individuals over 50. When you combine tobacco with heavy alcohol use, you have a 15 times greater risk of developing oral cancer than others.

Under the age of 50, the human papilloma virus, particularly HPV16 may be replacing tobacco as the primary causative agent in the initiation of the disease process.

HPV is a common, sexually transmitted virus, which infects about 40 million Americans today.

This is the same virus (along with other HPV versions) that causes more than 90 percent of all cervical cancers.

For more information on Dr. Seay, Dr. Hamrick and Park West Dentistry, please call 843-375-0395 or visit her website at www.AmandaSeay.net.

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