Spotlight on Oral Cancer

Posted by FountainSquareCosmeticDentalGroup | Filed under , ,

This month the American Dental Association is shining a spotlight on oral cancer. One reason they want to increase the awareness of oral cancer is because 2/3 of the time, oral cancer is discovered in the late stages, with a 5-year survival rate of only 30%. The second reason for this increased awareness is that more cases of oral cancer are caused by exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV), specifically the HPV-16 strain. This is the same sexually transmitted virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer in women; however oral cancer is far more common.

Regular dental visits where an oral cancer screening or exam is performed are the best hope for early detection. If we can detect oral cancer in the early stages, the 5-year survival rate significantly improves to 80% to 90%.

In the month of April the American Dental Association and the Oral Cancer Foundation are joining together and offering free oral cancer screenings in select cities. Check the Oral Cancer Foundation website at http://oralcancerfoundation.org/events/oral-cancer-awareness-month.html to find a free screening near you.

The two distinct risk factors for developing oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol use. The most important thing that you can do is visit your dentist regularly and have them conduct an oral cancer exam at least once a year. Our office routinely performs this exam at all of your prophylaxis appointments. You don’t even have to ask!

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