Dental dangers highlighted on Daffodil Day

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DaffodilA least three Australians are being diagnosed with oral cancer each day. The Australian Dental Association is showing its support for Daffodil Day today by highlighting the risks of cancer that can occur in the mouth.

Daffodil Day raises funds for the Cancer Council to continue its work in cancer research, providing patient support programs and prevention programs for all Australians. Daffodil Day helps grow hope for better treatments and more survivors.

Dr Peter Aldritt of the ADA's Oral Health Committee.
Dr Peter Aldritt of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee.

Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the Oral Health Committee, said: “Despite advances in treatment, survival rates for oral cancer remain low. This is because oral cancers tend to be detected late. Recognising the risk factors and signs of oral cancer is therefore vital.

“People usually associate smoking with cancer, but oral cancers can also occur in non-smokers”, Dr Alldritt added. “Ulcers or lumps in the mouth which do not heal within two weeks should be treated with suspicion. Checking for signs of oral cancer is a part of the regular check-up procedure carried out by your dentist, so it’s vital to visit your dentist regularly.”

The ADA has a website that provides information on what to look for in your mouth, as well as the risk factors that can contribute to oral cancer.

Oral cancer facts:

  • More than 75% of oral cancers in Australia occur in people who smoke
  • Early detection of oral cancer means a 90% chance of surviving

Risk factors

Drinking and smoking:

  • Regularly drinking more than four standard drinks on a single occasion increases your risk of oral cancer
  • Young adults who smoke and drink alcohol increase their risk of oral cancer 15 times

Unprotected oral sex and HPV:

  • More than 25% of oral cancer sufferers have never smoked. It is likely that these cases of oral cancer are due to contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) through unprotected oral sex
  • HPV not only can cause genital warts and cervical cancer in women, HPV can also cause oral cancer in both men and women. HPV can be transmitted via unprotected genital and oral sex.
  • US studies have shown that more than half of diagnosed oral cancers are linked to the HPV virus with the biggest growth in numbers amongst men
  • Extended exposure of lips to sun
  • Poor diet – consuming a diet low in or with no vegetables

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