Articles

Oral cancer in youth: debunking myths and raising awareness about early prevention

by Kara Sherwood Digital & Content Marketing

Myths about oral cancer have proliferated, and in reality, many patients don't have an adequate understanding of this deadly disease. Contrary to popular belief, this disease is not an exclusive concern for older adults; it impacts youngsters in the same way.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 657,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year worldwide, and the incidence among youth is on the rise.

 Debunking common myths surrounding oral cancer in youth and highlighting the importance of early prevention is necessary. By addressing these misconceptions and providing essential information, it is essential to support young people while they take proactive steps towards safeguarding their oral health.

Myth 1: Oral cancer only affects older adults

One of the most common myths is that oral cancer is a health issue reserved for the elderly. However, recent studies indicate a shift in demographics, with an increasing number of young individuals being diagnosed with the disease.  According to Cancer Council Australia, it is estimated that in 2024, there will be around 5,370 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the country. The incidence rate has been steadily increasing, with a notable rise among individuals under 40 years of age. This underscores the urgent need for awareness and preventive measures targeted at the younger population.

Myth 2: Only smokers get oral cancer

While it is true that tobacco use is a major risk factor for this disease, it's a misconception to believe that only smokers are susceptible. Shockingly, a rising number of non-smokers are being diagnosed with oral cancer. It has also been found that an increasing number of mouth cancer cases in young people are linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV).  The Cancer Council Australia states that 

[1] World Health Organization: WHO. (2023, March 14). Oral health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health

 

[2] Cancer Council SA - Cancer information and support. (n.d.). https://www.cancersa.org.au/?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA_aGuBhACEiwAly57MTxBcILFSZY-GylOwRfNBUx9NV11rm1a7vzywWBkpgGFEcck1N847RoCjAAQAvD_BwE

 

[3] Causes | National Cancer Prevention Policy Cervical cancer. (n.d.). Cancer Council. https://www.cancer.org.au/about-us/policy-and-advocacy/prevention-policy/national-cancer-prevention-policy/cervical-cancer/causes


around 60–70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the country are linked to HPV infection. This statistic highlights the impact of HPV on the rising incidence of oral cancers and emphasises the importance of HPV vaccination as a preventive measure.

Myth 3: regular dental check-ups are only for cavities

Some may believe that regular dental check-ups are solely for detecting and treating cavities. However, dentists play a crucial role in the early detection of oral cancer. During routine check-ups, the finest dentists in Bondi Junction can identify suspicious lesions or abnormalities in the mouth that may be indicative of this deadly disease. 

Why is early detection important?

Prevention is not about living in fear but about adopting healthy habits that can reduce the risk of developing this potentially life-threatening condition. Early detection is of prime importance in improving the prognosis of mouth cancer. Unfortunately, many cases go unnoticed until they reach an advanced stage, which makes the treatment process more challenging.  The Oral Cancer Foundation notes that a late-stage diagnosis leads to a significantly lower survival rate. By raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, young individuals can seek professional help at the earliest signs of concern.

 One way is to encourage young individuals to maintain good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing. Educating the youth about the dangers of tobacco use and the link between smoking, smokeless tobacco, and oral cancer is a crucial step in lowering the risk of oral cancer. Another crucial factor is the use of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine) vaccination, particularly for young individuals. Furthermore, a balanced and nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential to preventing this deadly disease.

 Raising awareness about oral cancer in youth

To effectively combat the rising incidence of oral cancer in youth, awareness is key. Collaborating with educational institutions is a crucial strategy to integrate oral health education into the curriculum. By fostering partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities, a comprehensive approach to raising awareness about oral cancer among youth can be initiated. This initiative will further provide students with accurate information, dispel myths, and equip them with actionable prevention strategies.


[1] Admin. (2018, June 5). Early Detection, Diagnosis and Staging - Oral Cancer Foundation | Information and Resources about Oral Head. Oral Cancer Foundation | Information and Resources About Oral Head and Neck Cancer. https://oralcancerfoundation.org/cdc/early-detection-diagnosis-staging/

 

Leveraging the power of social media to disseminate information about mouth cancer prevention is the next step in this direction. Engaging and shareable content, such as infographics and short videos, can reach a wide audience and spark conversations about the importance of oral health. Partnering with local health organisations, dental clinics, and community centres to offer free oral cancer screenings, distribute educational materials, and conduct interactive sessions on prevention.

 

Through education and early intervention, the risk of oral cancer in youth can be reduced, and a healthy environment for the younger generation can be visualised. In addition to this, cosmetic dentistry at Bondi Junction is another way of improving appearance and overall oral health, which ultimately contributes to dental bonding.



 




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About Kara Sherwood Advanced   Digital & Content Marketing

45 connections, 3 recommendations, 127 honor points.
Joined APSense since, November 16th, 2022, From Brisbane, Australia.

Created on Mar 8th 2024 04:05. Viewed 115 times.

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