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Tobacco, Alcohol, and Sex: Oh My!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. This is a great time to get informed on the causes, signs, and symptoms of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.
  • FACT: Approximately 80% of oral cancer patients use tobacco. Tobacco use, both smoking and smokeless forms, has a well-established link to oral cancer. Be aware of any color or textures changes in the lips, cheek pouch, or side of tongue.
  • FACT: Approximately 70% of oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers. The combination of drinking and smoking together exponentially increases the chance of oral cancer.
  • FACT: 35% of oral cancers are positive for Human Papilloma Virus 16. This is likely due to an increase in the acceptance of oral sex. These cancers are more typical in the back of the throat and oropharynx.
  • FACT: Most oral cancers are detected in Stage III or IV, when the 5-year survival rate is 20-50%.
If a self-examination reveals difficulty in swallowing, as well as any lumps, bumps, ulcers, or discolorations of the oral tissues, do not hesitate to get a professional screening. Our oral cancer exam consists of a tactile and visual exam using Oral ID fluorescence technology to aid in the diagnosis of oral lesions. We perform this exam as part of our routine 6-month check-ups and for all new patients. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. You may also click HERE to visit the American Cancer Society page on oral cancer.
Michael D. Gillespie, DDS

Michael D. Gillespie, DDS