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Who Is at Risk for Oral Cancer?

Last updated 6 years ago

Every day, over 100 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Unfortunately, nearly half of these individuals are given an expected prognosis of fewer than five years. The only silver lining on these sobering statistics is that the mortality rate of oral cancer is significantly lower when it is detected and treated early. While every adult should have his or her cosmetic dentist conduct oral cancer screenings on a regular basis, those who identify with any of the following risk factors should make an additional effort to get screened annually.

Tobacco Users:

If you smoke cigarettes or cigars, chew tobacco, use snuff, or smoke from a pipe, you are significantly increasing your risk of developing oral cancer.

Heavy Drinkers:

People who consume 30 or more alcoholic drinks per week are also highly susceptible to oral cancer. Individuals who use tobacco and drink excessively make up the most at-risk group.


Exposure to sunlight can cause lip cancer, one of many types of oral cancer. When you spend long periods of time in the sun, it is important to wear sunscreen on any exposed parts of the body, including the lips.

HPV Carriers:

Over the past few years, a link between the human papilloma virus and oral cancer has been established. If you have HPV, make your dentist aware of this so that he or she can conduct an oral cancer screening during every cleaning.

Nutrient-Deficient Individuals:

Individuals who do not consume enough fruits and vegetables, or those who have diets that are high in fat and low in fiber, may be at a greater risk of developing oral cancer than individuals who eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

While men, seniors, and individuals who identify with the risk factors described above are more likely to develop oral cancer than others, nobody is immune. If your dentist does not already screen you for oral cancer on a regular basis, speak with him or her about this option. To arrange an appointment with a Manhattan dentist who takes a comprehensive approach to oral health, call (646) 783-3572. Dr. Kenn Kakosian, D.D.S., P.C. is an experienced cosmetic dentist who can help with any of your dental needs.


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All content and information are of an unofficial nature and are not intended to be interpreted as dental advice.
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