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LED Medical Diagnostics Urges People to Avoid Tobacco and Excessive Use of Alcohol

  • August 12, 2013
  • Company Updates

LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (“LED Medical”, “the Company”), a developer of tissue visualization detection technologies for the medical industry, issued a reminder that tobacco usage and excessive usage of alcohol still represent significant causes of oral cancer and other diseases. The company’s VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System is the world’s leading adjunctive technology for the detection of oral cancer, pre-cancer and other oral disease.

“In recent years, there has been a great deal of publicity about the fact that a certain type of the human papillomavirus, the HPV-16 strain, is responsible for a growing percentage of oral cancers, particularly oropharyngeal cancers,” said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its LED Dental subsidiary, manufacturer of the VELscope® Vx. “While this publicity is essential to make people aware of the growing link between HPV and oral cancer, we cannot let people forget that the historical leading causes of oral cancer—smoking cigarettes and cigars, using smokeless tobacco and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol—are still activities that should be avoided to minimize the risk of developing oral cancer as well as other serious diseases.”

The following facts indicate that tobacco usage and excessive usage of alcohol might be more common—and a more frequent cause of oral cancer and other diseases—than many people think:

  • About four million people die worldwide each year as a result of smoking. Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Tobacco is a risk factor for some 25 diseases. Source: WHO
  • There are approximately 1.1 billion regular smokers in the world, which is one-third of the global population aged 15 years and older. Source: WHO
  • In Asia, where the use of tobacco is unusually high, oral cancer is the leading cancer in men, and in Africa and Asia it is the third most frequent type of cancer in women. Source: Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF)
  • Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nasal cavity (nose) and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (mucinous), and acute myeloid leukemia. Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures
  • In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for nearly 20% of all deaths and at least 30% of all cancer deaths; this equals about 443,000 early deaths each year. Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures
  • In the United States, nearly 44 million people—about 21.6% of men and 16.5% of women—still smoked cigarettes in 2011, with about 78% of these people smoking daily. Source: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults – United States
  • Cigar smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus (swallowing tube), and probably the pancreas. Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures
  • A 2011 survey of high school seniors found that about 37% of the boys and 25% of the girls had used tobacco in the past month, and that 24% of the boys and 10% of the girls had smoked small cigars in the past month. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • About 5% of adult men and 13% of male high school students are current users of smokeless tobacco. Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures and CDC
  • Smokeless tobacco products are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines and a known cause of human cancer. They increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus (swallowing tube), and pancreas. Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures
  • When tobacco and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than non-users of tobacco and alcohol products. Source: OCF
  • The dehydrating effect of alcohol on cell walls enhances the ability of tobacco carcinogens to permeate mouth tissues; additionally, nutritional deficiencies associated with heavy drinking can lower the body’s natural ability to use antioxidants to prevent the formation of cancers. Source: OCF
  • A study published in the United Kingdom estimated that in 2010, around 37% of oral and oropharyngeal cancers in men and 17% in women were linked to alcohol. Source: Cancer Research UK
  • Binge drinking—defined as consuming 4 or more drinks for a woman or 5 or more drinks for a man in a short period of time—is a widespread problem among adults and young people. More than 15% of U.S. adults, or 33 million Americans, report binge drinking in the past 30 days, and the average episode involves 8 drinks. The percentage of adults who report binge drinking has not declined for more than 15 years. Source: CDC

“It is important for people to be aware that HPV is an increasingly significant cause of oral cancer,” said Mr. Whitehead. “However, it is equally important to realize that tobacco and excessive usage of alcohol remain significant risk factors as well.”

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