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Are You at Risk for Oral Cancer?


Woman smilingIt may be surprising to learn that oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer that anyone can develop. There are some factors that can increase your risk level, but generally speaking, anyone can develop oral cancer, or mouth cancer. At Pine Belt Periodontics, PLLC, we have incorporated an oral cancer screening into our regular dental checkup. In fact, you have probably already been screened. The process is simple and painless, though highly necessary. Catching the signs or symptoms early is always best.

Everyone is at risk for developing oral cancer, though there are factors that can increase your odds. These include:

Risk Factors that You Can’t Control


There are some risk factors that we are powerless over. This includes:
•  Age: Studies indicate that over 95% of oral cancers occur in people over the age of 40, with the average age being 62. As we age, our bodies have a harder time fighting things off. It’s simply part of aging.
•  Gender: Studies indicate that men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women. This may be tied to controlled risk factors listed below.
•  Nutrition: People who have experienced poor nutrition, generally during their adolescence, have been found to be at a higher risk for health issues including mouth cancer.
•  Genetics: A harsh reality is that some people are simply born with a genetic mutation that increases their likelihood of developing cancer, including oral cancer. Fanconi anemia and Dyskeratosis congenita have been linked as a high risk genetic mutation for the development of mouth cancers.


Risk Factors that You Can Control


•  The Use of Tobacco: Whether you smoke it, or chew it, tobacco has been found to increase your risk of developing oral cancer significantly. There have been numerous studies, and much guidance on the topic.
•  Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Some studies have indicated that upwards of 70% of patients with oral cancer are also heavy drinkers. Patients who smoke and drink have been found to be at 100% higher risk than patients who don’t.
•  Sunlight Exposure: There has been correlation between people who work primarily outdoors and the development of cancer on or around the lips.
•  HPV Infection: Patients with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. We place this under factors that can be controlled because today there is a vaccination to protect yourself. A vaccination that can prevent cancer should be considered by everyone.

Catching the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be completed quickly and easily. Using simply a probe, we can look for anything out of the ordinary including changes in your tissue texture, color, or the development of bumps and lumps. We want to help you catch these symptoms early, which is always best for long term results.

For more information, contact our Hattiesburg office at (601) 255-9929.



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Pine Belt Periodontics, 9 Medical Blvd., Hattiesburg, MS 39401 / (601) 255-9929 / drbrianpitfield.com / 5/4/2021 / Tags: Periodontist Hattiesburg MS / Periodontist Hattiesburg MS /