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Oral Cancer Screenings – They Save Lives!

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Oral Cancer Screenings – They Save Lives!

Oral Cancerl Screening
When was the last time you had an oral cancer screening?  Finding cancer early is the best way to stop it in its tracks. That is why dentists will do an oral cancer screening every time you go in for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. Someone dies every hour of every day from oral cancer in the United States, which is too many since this type of cancer is preventable. Detect oral cancer right when it starts and stop it in its tracks with an oral cancer screening!

Fast Facts About Oral Cancer

It has been said that ‘knowledge is power.’ When it comes to your oral health, the more you know the better you can combat anything negative or life-threatening that may be lurking behind your brilliant smile.

“Close to 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades,” writes the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Here are some other important facts about oral cancer:

  • This conditions is almost twice as prevalent in men compared to women. According to Cancer.net, oral cavity cancer is actually the 9th most common cancer among men.
  • When detected early, patients have an 83% survival rate or more, which is why screenings are so important!
  • When oral cancer is left unchecked, it will eventually start migrating to the surrounding tissues and organs.
  • Oral cavity cancer is one of the most common cancers of the mouth.
  • Oral cavity cancer usually occurs in the tongue, tonsils and oropharynx, gums and floor of the mouth.
  • The average age that oral cancer manifests is around age 62, but it has been known to affect children in very rare cases and also occurs in patients under 55 in about ¼ of the cases on record.
  • If you have had or currently have oral cancer, you are at an increased risk to develop cancer in nearby areas such as the larynx (voice box), esophagus or the lungs. You will have to have continual screenings throughout life to monitor your health and prevent cancer in these areas.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use has been shown to increase the chances for other cancers in patients who have or have had oral cancer, so be mindful of this!

What to Expect with Your Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screenings are noninvasive, fast and effective. The first part of the exam will include a question/answer session with Dr. Berry. Be as honest as you can during this process. This verbal history will aid Dr. Berry during your screening.

Following the intake of verbal history, you will be asked to remove any dentures or partials that you may have to reveal any hidden soft tissue areas in your mouth. Your face, neck, lips, and mouth will be examined for subtle signs of cancer. Dr. Berry will both look and feel for possible signs of cancer or precancerous tissue changes. These cancers often manifest as red and/or white patches, or thickened areas. Your tongue (under and above) will also be checked for swelling or irregular color patches. An inspection of the roof of your mouth and tonsils will also be part of the exam.

Dentists spend hours a day, for years and years examining the mouths of their patients. They know what they are looking for, where to look, and what things should feel like. To aid in the screening process, different kinds of lights will be used to help detect subtle changes. Oral rinses can also be used that indicate problem areas. Dye will be used on a suspicious tissue to test it.

Less Than 15 Percent Are Receiving Oral Cancer Screenings

The Oral Cancer Foundation states that less than 15 percent of those who have regular dental exams receive an oral cancer screening. Since the best way to combat cancer is from early detection and treatment, this percentage needs to be improved! The Oral Cancer Foundation is reaching out to communities with an oral cancer education and awareness campaign. Their goal is to increase the conversations about this disease to reduce the suffering, permanent damage, disfigurement and death it causes. Their campaign calls on dentists to screen patients for oral cancer at every examination to help with early detection and treatment efforts.

Call to Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening

When was the last time you had a dental exam? Did it include an oral cancer screening? our office offers all of the high-quality, gentle dental care you need for a smile that is healthy and beautiful for life. Dr. Robert Berry is pleased to provide comprehensive dental treatments to meet all of your dental needs and desires. No matter your dental needs, we are dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that helps you feel confident. Call Mountain Aire Dentistry at (303) 731-7755 today to schedule an appointment.