According to the American Dental Association there will be nearly 42,000 people diagnosed with oral and throat cancer in the United States this year. Many of these people will be diagnosed in the advanced stages of oral cancer causing survival rates to be as short as 5 years. When this cancer is diagnosed in the early stages the 5 year survival rates increases to 83%. The discouraging factor is that only 31% of these cancers are caught in the earlier, very stages when treatment is most successful. Visiting your dentist regularly is a positive step, as your dentist does check during these visits. It is also important to be aware of any changes in your mouth and report them to your healthcare professional. Risk factors include using tobacco, alcohol, HPV infection, and too much sun exposure (increased risk for lip cancer).The American Cancer Society recommends a healthy overall lifestyle, including a healthy diet, alcohol consumption in moderation and refraining from tobacco use. You should also use sunscreen on your lips to prevent lip cancer and limit exposure as much as possible.Β It is important you discuss your risk factors, family history, and personal history with your dentist and health care professional to decide what plan of action is best for you.

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