The importance of regular oral cancer screenings

Do You Need Oral Cancer Screening if You Don’t Smoke?

People who smoke face a serious risk of developing oral cancer. Multiple studies have established a clear link between smoking and cancer, which means routine professional screenings are essential for smokers.

If you don’t smoke, you may be less likely to develop oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. However, the disease also strikes many non-smokers. Several factors contribute to carcinoma development, so everyone should schedule regular professional oral cancer screenings.

The importance of regular oral cancer screenings

Lifestyle Choices that May Lead to Oral Cancer

Deciding not to smoke is a great step toward cancer prevention, but some of the other lifestyle choices you make could be doing the exact opposite. Your chance of getting a diagnosis of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer is higher if you:

  • Regularly consume a large quantity of alcohol
  • Spend a great deal of time in the sunlight without proper protection
  • Rarely eat fruits and vegetable

And if you don’t smoke, but you use another form of tobacco, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Using tobacco of any type increases your risk of developing the disease.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Oral Cancer

Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer can occur in anyone — even people who don’t smoke or use tobacco, never drink, always use adequate sun protection and eat plenty of produce.

Why is this? Certain risk factors for developing carcinoma are simply unavoidable. You cannot control:

  • Gender – Men are twice as likely as women to develop the disease.
  • Age – Carcinoma is more common in people over the age of 55.
  • Family history – Your cancer risk is higher if a relative had the disease.
  • Heredity – A genetic syndrome can greatly increase your chance of getting a diagnosis.

You may also be unable to avoid other known risk factors, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and the development of certain medical conditions, including graft-versus-host disease and lichen planus.

Early Detection Can Save Your Life

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 53,000 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2019 – and the organization expects 10,860 of these cases to prove fatal.

Fortunately, the disease is highly treatable in the initial stages, No cure exists as of yet, but patients diagnosed early on stand the best chance at a positive outcome. For that reason, everyone should make time for regular professional oral cancer screenings.

As April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, now’s the perfect time to schedule a screening with a qualified local oral surgeon. If you live in the greater central Indiana area, make an appointment at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly, our board-certified oral surgeons, have extensive expertise diagnosing and treating oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. To schedule a professional oral cancer screening with the highly-skilled team at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, contact our Indianapolis office today.