Dental Checkups Are Not Just About Cavities
At Harris Dental we urge people to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. If you skip biannual dental checkups because you don’t believe you have any cavities, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more convincing reason to see your dentist regularly. (While your dentist is checking for oral cancer, we encourage you to have a thorough dental checkup as well!)
In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have garnered 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 contracted HPV, you have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
Our staff works to increase awareness of oral cancer and the importance of early diagnosis. Courtesy of 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% of men and women with oral cancer use some type of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
2. 40% of people who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer die within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.
3. In many cases, it is almost impossible for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce indistinct 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 (the most frequent sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the copious 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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