One person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day and takes over 8,000 American lives each year.  The death rate for oral cancer is higher than other more commonly known cancers such as skin, cervical, prostate, and breast cancers.  Oral cancer used to be mostly associated with tobacco users over the age of 40.  However, this is changing to a younger demographic with a link to HPV16 (human papiloma virus version 16), which is viral and sexually transmitted.  HPV16 has been conclusively connected to oral cancer and will soon take over tobacco as the main cause.  Early detection is key, and dentists have a greater opportunity to observe these problems than other heath care providers.  As part of your initial, as well as preventive care exams, Dr. Chalef performs a routine oral cancer screening.  We look for any abnormalities or changes in the oral cavity.  If something unusual or abnormal is found, we often will refer you to a specialist for further consult and evaluation.