Risk factors for oral cancer include the use of tobacco, alcohol consumption and exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus), the same one responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. However, 25% of oral cancer victims do not have any risk factors. Therefore, Dr. Graber recommends oral cancer screenings to all patients who have been exposed to HPV and/or exhibit sores, lumps, bumps or red and white patches in the mouth that have not healed after three weeks. If you are concerned that you may have an early warning sign, contact Dr. Graber immediately to schedule a screening and visit www.oralcancer.org for further information.
Regular dental visits, which include an oral cancer specific examination, are essential to ensure early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, leading to a five-year survival rate of 57%.