Evaluating the Impact of Appalachian Health Risk Factors on Oral Cancer

”Evaluating the Impact of Appalachian Health Risk Factors on Oral Cancer”

Individuals residing in West Virginia and other Appalachian areas face many unique health challenges due to endemic and environmental conditions associated with socio-behavioral and geological parameters inherent to the region. These factors have a negative impact on all aspects of oral health, resulting in West Virginia having the third highest incidence of oral cancer per capita in the United States, in spite of a state population of only 1.8 million. An incipient area of research in the laboratory addresses the role of specific Appalachian-associated disparity factors in promoting HNSCC invasion, with tobacco and hydrofracking-associated chemicals as current areas of focus.

Incidence map of HNSCC per capita in the United States. The incidence of HNSCC per 100,000 people in each state is indicated, with West Virginia having the third highest incidence per capita in the United States. 

Data are from the CDC.