At Weston Spencer DDS – Conservative Comprehensive Dentistry we encourage our patients to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. If you avoid these dental checkups because you don’t believe you have any cavities, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more convincing reason for you to considering seeing your dentist regularly.
While we check for oral cancer, we urge you to have a thorough dental examination as well. The bottom line is that dental checkups are not just about cavities.
In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have drawn a lot of public attention. There is relatively less awareness of oral cancer, even though it claims almost 10,000 lives every year in the United States. If you smoke or have acquired HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US, you have an increased risk for developing oral cancer.
We work to raise awareness of oral cancer and the significance of early diagnosis. With some help from the CDC, Oral Cancer Foundation, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, here are 5 important things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.
1. About 80 percent of men and women with oral cancer use some variety of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
2. 40 percent of people who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer die within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90 percent.
3. In many cases, it is extremely challenging for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce unobtrusive symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be analyzed by a dentist or doctor.
4. HPV is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the various strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most often linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
5. Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.
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