More than 48,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2016. Many people are unaware of their risk for oral cancer. While heavy tobacco and alcohol use are still major risk factors, new evidence indicates that the human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is also linked to oral cancer.
Most people with an HPV infection have no symptoms. Fortunately, only a very small portion will develop oral cancer. However, since it's impossible to detect the initial infection and predict who will develop oral cancer, screening for early detection is of the utmost importance. People with an HPV related cancer are often younger and not heavy alcohol or tobacco users.
All adults need to be screened for oral cancer. With early detection survival rates are higher and side effects from treatment are less. Dental hygiene visits are the opportune time to conduct the oral cancer screening and raise awareness of its importance