It seems like every cancer has a month dedicated to increasing awareness about it. Oral cancer is no different, and April is the time to learn about this disease and about what can be done to reduce its impact. For example, did you know that your dentist can be your first line of detection for oral cancer and increase the odds of beating it? This month, take an opportunity to increase your oral cancer awareness and make an appointment with your dentist to have a necessary screening. Here are four facts that you may not already know about oral cancer to help you do just that.
Oral cancer has a high mortality rate.
Although only 53,000 people are expected to be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019, as opposed to the 268,600 anticipated new cases of breast cancer, about 57 percent of these oral cancer patients will likely still be alive in five years. Calculating the number of deaths from this disease, one person in America dies every hour of every day. Even if oral cancer isn’t as common as other cancers, it is time to take it seriously and discuss it so that more lives can be saved.
Oral cancer doesn’t happen just to smokers and drinkers.
Contrary to popular belief, oral cancer can impact more than just those who smoke and drink alcohol heavily. In fact, about 10 percent of oral cancer cases do not have an identified cause at all. Tobacco use and drinking alcohol are certainly among the top risk factors for this type of cancer, but exposure to the human papillomavirus and prolonged sun exposure on the lips are also known to contribute.
Oral cancer screenings are included in your routine six-month dental visits.
To get an oral cancer screening, you don’t have to take any extra time out of your busy schedule. You simply need to attend your dental checkup and cleaning appointment twice a year. Your dentist performs this screening in just a few minutes as part of this routine visit by visually inspecting the inside of your mouth, particularly in the back of your mouth, for red or white patches of tissue, mysterious lumps or bumps, and areas of thickened tissue. Then, they gently feel around your jaw, neck, and throat for any suspicious masses.
Oral cancer screenings can save your life.
At first glance, it may seem silly or unnecessary to have an oral cancer screening on such a regular basis. But the fact of the matter is that oral cancer often results in death because it is diagnosed so late in development. For those whose oral cancer is found and treated early on, their survival rate is up to 90 percent. The sooner you discover oral cancer, the better the chances are for successfully overcoming it. Having an oral cancer screening every six months helps to make that happen.
This April, consider how these oral cancer facts can affect you. If it has been a while since you’ve seen the dentist for your checkup and cleaning, get back on track and make that appointment today. Not only will it allow you to have better oral health, but it could help you have the opportunity to enjoy many more years of life in the future.
About the Practice
At Pelican Landing Dental, you can find comprehensive dental care for every generation of your family. That’s because we have four talented dentists, each with years of experience and expertise in nearly all dental needs. From the moment you walk in, the staff makes you feel welcome and relaxed, and the team works with you to create personalized treatment plans that you understand and can completely agree with. To make an appointment with them, call (239) 948-2111 or click here.