Cancer is a disease that has touched everyone in some way. Whether it has been a personal experience, or that of a family member or friend, it remains the second largest cause of death globally. Oral cancer doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but it’s impact can be very serious. This article covers some important statistics on oral cancer, and explains why it’s important for every dental checkup to also include cancer screening.

When it comes to the impact of smoking, the first thought is lung cancer. But smoking can also increase the chances of developing oral cancer.

A study from the University of California showed that 8 out of 10 oral cancer patients are smokers. Smoking increases the risk of developing oral cancer in 10.9x for men and 5.1x for women.

But the good news is that quitting smoking can decrease this risk.

Oral cancer is especially dangerous because in it’s early stages it can go unnoticed. It can form secondary tumours (through metastasis) without any symptoms. This means that in some cases oral cancer can be well developed by the time it is discovered. Unfortunately, this means around 57% of patients do not survive for more than 5 years.

While these statistics are very concerning, it is important to note that every dental checkup at our Coffs Harbour or Dorrigo practices also includes an oral cancer screening. Dentists don’t only manage teeth and gums; the diagnosis and management of oral diseases is an important part of oral health, and this includes oral cancer. Checkups are very important for everyone but this is even more important to smokers with an elevated cancer risk.

This image is an infographic that says "around 59% of oral cancer is caused by smoking" from Ethical Dental and Orthodontics, Dentists in Coffs Harbour.
Having regular screening for oral cancer by your dentist is an important part of dental health.

At our practice, we take preventative oral health care very seriously — so taking the time for a careful and dedicated oral cancer screening at every checkup is as important to us as it is to our patients.

Helping to create and build healthy habits is essential for a long and happy life. We love to guide and facilitate the care required for our patients to beat smoking and take control of their general and oral health.


If you are concerned about oral cancer or your dental health book a consultation with Dr Kate Amos or Dr Sam Rosehill at Ethical Dental on 6652 3185 or book online.

To learn more about how lifestyle can relate to our cancer check out our articles ‘Smoking and Oral Cancer’ and ‘Alcohol Consumption and Oral Cancer’.


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