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03
May

Detrimental Effects of Tobacco

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April was Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our hygienist Jamie reached out to 170 local 10th graders at Mayfield High School to discuss the detrimental effects of tobacco products. Tobacco was the first crop grown for money in North America and by 1944 it produced 300 billion dollars a year. Since it was making so much money, many people didn’t worry about the detrimental effects it causes until the Surgeon General began writing reports in 1964 linking nicotine and tar to many cancers.

Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals with 69 of them known to cause cancer. Cigars contain higher levels of nicotine compared to cigarettes due to the chemical and bacterial changes that occur during the drying and aging process. Hookah is a growing trend especially for teenagers in America due to the many lounges opening in Northeast Ohio which offer many different flavors of tobacco to attract the younger ages. A huge misconception with Hookah is that the tobacco is “filtered” so many users believe that they are not absorbing any nicotine or cancer causing agents. This rumor is far from the truth, the water in the hookah does NOT filter the nicotine, and it only cools the smoke so the user can smoke for longer periods of time without burning their mouth. Smoking Hookah for 1 hour which is very common in lounges is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes! Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative for cigarettes; it contains 28 cancer-causing agents and increases the risk for oral cancer by 50% compared to a cigarette smoker.

Maintaining your oral wellness appointment is the only way to receive your oral cancer exam. Doctor Minadeo-Fox and Jamie check your gum tissue, lips, tongue, throat and cheeks for any concerning red or white bumps or lumps that haven’t healed within 2 weeks. It is important to check your own tissue throughout the year for any suspicious lesions that do not heal and to contact the office for a tissue consult for preventative measures.

The 1-year survival rate for patients with all stages of oral cancer is 81%. The 5 and 10-year survival rates for oral cancer are 56% and 41%. It is important to catch oral cancer early and the only way is by keeping your wellness appointment every 3-6 months. It takes 2 minutes to save a life!

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