I Don’t Smoke, Can I Still Get Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is among the most prevalent and deadly forms of cancer in America today. Yet, despite its commonality, the causes of oral cancer are largely a mystery. Many people believe that oral cancer is mostly caused by smoking, and while that is historically true, recent studies reported by the Oral Cancer Foundation indicate that is no longer primarily the case. Consulting with Dr. Borowksi to help determine if you have or are at risk of developing oral cancer, but being aware of what causes oral cancer can help you avoid it.

Historically, smoking has been one of the primary causes of oral cancer. And while smoking is still a leading cause of oral cancer, other factors are becoming more common. Increasingly, chewing tobacco is to blame for oral cancer. Because of the prevailing belief that smoking is responsible for causing cancer, many turn to chewing, assuming that it will not cause the disease. However, studies indicate that there is little to no difference between chewing and smoking tobacco. And while those who regularly smoke or chew may avoid cancer for many years, it often develops in their early 40’s.

Another increasingly common cause of oral cancer is HPV16, a sexually transmitted virus affecting roughly 40 million Americans. HPV is largely responsible for cancers that occur towards the back of the throat and mouth area. Unlike tobacco related cancer problems, victims of HPV16 often contract cancer at a much younger age.

Alcohol has also been shown to cause oral cancer. While scientists and doctors have not discovered a definitive link between alcohol and oral cancer, they have discovered that those who abuse alcohol (downing 21 or more drinks a week) are second only to smokers in likelihood of developing oral cancer.

If you are concerned that you may have oral cancer, visiting Dr. Cowdin for diagnosis. Should you have the disease, Dr. Borowksi and her team of highly trained dental professionals can help you fight the disease. While the surgeries and radiation required can have a devastating affect on the appearance of your mouth and teeth, your Dallas cosmetic dentist can help you hide the effects of your fight and restore the condition of your mouth. Fighting oral cancer is a long, hard battle, but hope may be a call away.