Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 49,750 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the US. It kills one person every hour of every day, and approximately 132 new individuals will be diagnosed with it each day. The good news is that it can often be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening. Pure Dental’s trained hygienists can see or feel the precancerous tissue changes which might lead to a cancer.
Who should get screened?
Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects are from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. At Pure Dental, this is performed at your annual dental check-up.
The risk factors:
There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is now the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers in the US, and the same one, which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.
Signs and symptons
Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
Any sore which does not heal within 14 days.
Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time
A sensation that something is stuck in you throat.
Numbness in the oral region.
Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.
Difficulty in swallowing.
Ear pain which occurs on one side only.
A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck.
Early Detection with Yearly Screening Saves Lives
An oral cancer screening should be conducted every year. At Pure Dental, we use Intaoral and Extraoral photos to detect abnormalities of the oral cavity. There is no better time to schedule an appointment than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April.
For more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at www.oralcancer.org