Everyone is at Risk for Deadly Oral Cancer A Fast and Painless Exam Could Save Your
Oral cancer kills one American every hour, largely due to late detection.
It used to be known as a disease of older men with histories of heavy smoking or drinking. But
today’s oral cancer victim is often younger and female. Oral cancer among people in their 40’s
nearly doubled from 1973-2004, and researchers think they know why.
The human papillomavirus (HPV), long known as the primary cause of cervical cancer, turns out
to be an equal-opportunity killer, causing oral cancer in men as well as in women. Oral cancer
strikes three times as many Americans as cervical cancer, and kills twice as many per year. As
reported recently on ABC TV’s Good Morning America, 39% of today’s oral cancer cases stem
from HPV infection.
ABC showcased the new face of oral cancer: Theresa Dillon, a 38-year-old mom with no history
of tobacco use was diagnosed with Stage II oral cancer on her tonsil. The cause? The HPV virus.
Johns Hopkins researchers, writing in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology,
reported that the sexually transmitted HPV virus causes as many cancers of the upper throat as
tobacco and alcohol combined. Oral sex is the likely method of transmission. They said the
incidence rate for HPV-related oral cancers among males has been rising steadily for three
“Every sexually active adult may be at risk for oral cancer,” says Dr. Omer Reed, Phoenix-based
dentist and international dental practice consultant, “but no one should have to suffer, let alone
die, from this disease.” Reed says dentists across the U.S. and Canada offer a 3-minute, totally
painless exam called ViziLite® Plus that has been clinically proven to help dentists detect
abnormal tissue, including pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. After a patient rinses with a
special solution, the dentist examines the mouth with a light stick that illuminates abnormalities.
Suspicious areas are marked with a temporary dye called T