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Oral Cancer in Young Adults: Why Early Detection is Key 

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when dental professionals join with other medical professionals to highlight the dangers of oral cancer.

When you think of oral cancer, you might picture a silver-haired grandparent who has smoked a pack a day since they were 12. But according to the American Cancer Society, the incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers has been increasing in recent years, particularly among young adults. 

But let’s be real, we know that young people often feel invincible and may not see the importance of oral cancer screening. That’s why we’re here to remind them that taking care of their health is cool. And hey, if it helps to think of oral cancer screening as just another way to keep their selfie game strong, we’re here for that too.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that HPV is responsible for approximately 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States, and that rates of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer have been increasing in recent years, particularly among young people.
  • One study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV infection increased by 225% between 1988 and 2004, with the highest increase seen in young white men. 
  • Another study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that dentists may be in a unique position to help screen for HPV-related oral cancers, particularly among young adults who may not have regular primary care providers.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when dental professionals join with other medical professionals to highlight the dangers of oral cancer. 

Sadly, the death rate from oral and pharyngeal cancers remains frustratingly high, at around 43 percent five years after diagnosis. This, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, is because so few cases are diagnosed early enough to allow doctors to treat the disease.

We’re not here to scare patients – we’re here to educate them. Early detection and screening is so important when it comes to oral cancer in young adults.  Young adults often have busy and active lifestyles, which can make it easy to put off routine dental exams. But by catching potential issues early on, we can help ensure that these young people can continue to lead happy and healthy lives.

By incorporating Velscope into regular oral cancer screenings, dentists can ensure that they are providing the highest level of care to their patients and catch potential issues at an early stage and improve patient outcomes. Did we mention it’s faster than posting a TikTok video?  The technology is easy to use, provides quick and reliable results, and can help reduce the risk of malpractice issues. Patients will appreciate the proactive approach to their health, and dentists will benefit from the ability to screen more patients in less time.By catching potential issues early on, we can help ensure that these young people can continue to lead happy and healthy lives.

How to Perform a Monthly Self-exam

Make it a regular routine to perform a self-exam each month. Using a bright light and a mirror, follow these steps:

• Remove any dentures.

• Look and feel inside the lips and the front of the gums.

• Tilt head back to inspect and feel the roof of the mouth.

• Pull the cheek out to see its inside surface as well as the back of the gums.

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