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Let's Beat Oral Cancer

Let's Beat Oral Cancer

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We had an amazing time at the Oral Cancer Foundation walk in Fountain Valley, CA last weekend, and the event got us thinking seriously about oral cancer.

Oral cancer isn’t very commonly talked about, but did you know that one person dies of oral cancer in the US every hour, 24 hours per day? 

Unfortunately, Chrystle and I lost our childhood neighbor to oral cancer just last year!

While we can’t control age-related and genetic risk factors, you can make small changes to your lifestyle to reduce your risk:

Lifestyle risk factors

tobacco - 80% of oral cancer victims use tobacco in the form of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or snuff

alcohol - 70% of oral cancer victims are heavy drinkers. It's suspected that the dehydrating effect of alcohol enhances the ability of carcinogens to permeate mouth tissues, and nutritional deficiencies associated with heavy drinking may lower the body's ability to use antioxidants to prevent cancer formation; see more at http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/alcohol-connection.php

HPV - ~25% of patients with oral cancer are infected with the same HPV strains that can cause cervical cancer. In the US, it's estimated that 7% of people have oral HPV, but only 1% have the type of HPV (HPV type 16) that is found in oral cancers (see more at the CDC). Do your proper screening before snogging and beyond!

sun exposure - Prolonged UV exposure increases your risk of developing lip cancer. Ensure that you apply sunscreen regularly. The skin on our lips is very thin!

A complete list of risk factors can be found here:http://www.cancercenter.com/oral-cancer/risk-factors/

While you may not be a high-risk candidate, ask your dentist to perform an oral cancer screening at your next dental visit.Screenings are quick, easy and painless. When oral cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is 83%.  

Let’s beat oral cancer to the punch. TKO.

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