April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

This April will mark the 14th annual Oral Cancer Awareness month. Statistics have shown that nearly 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year. Of those diagnosed, the 5 year survival rate is approximately 64%. The numbers are astounding and seem to be on rise. Most of us know or have at least heard about the normal risk factors for oral cancer. These include heavy drinking, smoking and smokeless tobacco use. A new risk factor that is on the rise is the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease. This has helped open the conversation about oral cancer to all patients and not just those with the traditional risk factors.

How To Avoid Oral Cancer

The next question that usually comes to mind is how to avoid oral cancer? The obvious answer is to avoid the risk factors. The next step, as advised by the American Dental Association, is to have regular oral cancer screenings completed by a dental professional. This is the best way to detect oral cancers in the early stages, and thus saving lives. Unfortunately, head and neck cancers have often developed to advanced stages before they are visibly detectable. At Harris Dental, we take oral cancer screenings and early detection very seriously. We have recently implemented a new diagnostic tool named the OralID. The OralID implements proven fluorescence technology that uses a blue light that allows us to identify oral cancer, pre-cancer and other abnormal lesions at an earlier stage.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Another question that may come to mind is how will this affect or change my routine visits at Harris Dental? We will be providing the oral cancer screenings as part of our yearly exams. The OralID does not require any type of mouthrinse or dyes. We will provide eye protection and use the light to take a look around the oral cavity. The exam is painless and only adds an additional 2 minutes to the exam. The best part is that we will be providing this service at all 5 of our valley locations at no additional charge!

Detection & Treatment Of Oral Cancer

This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. During my residency in Mesa, Arizona I had the opportunity to work with many head and neck cancer patients prior to receiving treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Many of the patients were healthier than I am and the cancer seemed to come out of nowhere. If the cancer could have been detected in the early stages, treatment could have been avoided and lives saved. The OralID is advancement in early detection technology and will allow the Harris Dental team a way to continue to provide the absolute best treatment to our patients. Please contact us with questions or check out www.OralID .com for more information.