Diabetes is a complicated disease that can have a plethora of systemic effects, some of the first of which show up in the mouth.
New findings published in JAMA Otolaryngology suggest that people with Type 2 diabetes may be at greater risk for developing head and neck cancers than those without diabetes. Researchers noted that oral cancer was by far the most prevalent cancer found and that diabetic patients between 40 and 65 years of age were at a significantly higher risk than those in other age groups.
According to the study, people with Type 2 diabetes have approximately 1.5 times greater risk across the board. While a 50% increase in risk is relatively small, the findings are still significant: It’s very important to closely monitor patients with diabetes for signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer.
Diabetes has many comorbid conditions that can increase the costs and complications involved in the care and management of the disease. Medical professionals know that they must be hyper-vigilant when it comes to monitoring the systemic health of their diabetic patients, and it is now widely accepted that a critical component to their outcomes is a healthy mouth. Because oral, head, and neck cancer screenings are already a part of many dental checkups, these most recent findings emphasize the importance the dental team can play in helping patients with diabetes live longer, healthier lives.