OK who's Michael Melnick, what's CMV and what does oncovirus mean? Good question. Basically there was a study done at the Laboratory for Developmental Genetics at USC that confirmed that cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the cause of most salivary gland cancers in the mouth. The Oncovirus is a virus that causes cancer.
Michael Melnick is a professor of developmental genetics in the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and Co-Director of the Laboratory for Developmental Genetics said rigorous studies were done of both human salivary gland tumors and salivary glands of postnatal mice.
Basically CMV is carried by most of us. Melnick says:
In healthy patients with normal immune systems, it becomes dormant and resides inactive in the salivary glands. No one knows what reactivates it.
Salivary gland cancers can be particularly problematic because they usually go undiagnosed for a very long time and most especially if a patient hasn't visited their dentist in a long time. By that time the disease has reached the late stage. And since the affected area is near the face, surgical treatment can be quite extensive and seriously detrimental to a patient's quality of life.
Basically, as a Columbia dentist, I have more many years now educated my patients about the risks of gum disease. Approximately 1 out of 3 American adults have gum disease and don't know it. To make a long story short, gum disease leads to many other physical ailments including cancer.
It's simple! Make an appointment with your Columbia dentist for an oral cancer screening test or to make a regular checkup. If you haven't visited us for a long time - over 5 years - then get in hear fast! A lot can happen in the mouth when it comes to oral care especially if you've been neglecting visits so be careful and call us today at 803-781-1600 to make an appointment.