In the past, oral cancer was thought to be an old man’s disease, mainly coming from years of smoking. We know now that while men are affected with oral cancer about twice as much as women and lifestyle is a huge factor in oral cancer development. What’s new, however, is the rising trend of oral cancer in young people.
Why are Oral Cancer Rates Rising?
Scientists and Doctors have been looking into this for a while (heavily since the 80’s) and have found a correlation between human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer rates. HPV is already known to cause cervical cancer in women, but each year doctors find 33,000 new cases of oral cancer in patients who also have HPV. Researchers are hoping that with increased efforts on sexual education, we can slow the spread of HPV as much as possible. Currently, 75% of all sexually active people between ages 15 and 49 have been infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
Most strains of HPV (of which there are about 100) will clear themselves within two years. 90% of women infected with HPV show no traces after this time.
What Can Be Done?
For oral cancer, you should first and foremost get screened for it every year, especially if you think yourself to be at high risk. The process takes only a few minutes, and can be done during a routine dental cleanup. There’s no reason not to get checked!
For preventing the catching or spreading of HPV, make sure to follow safe sex practices. You should consider getting the HPV vaccination to prevent infection, and women over 30 should consider getting an HPV test done.
Early detection is key, so make sure you get screened! It’s simple, quick, and could save your life! If you have any questions, are looking to get screened, or are just looking for a new dentist to call your own, reach out to us here at Hospital Dental Group! We have a state of the art facility and knowledgeable staff that can help you with any questions you might have, and we will answer you as discretely or non-discretely as you need. Thanks for reading!