Dental checkups are not just about finding and filling cavities. At Dental Care Today in Fishers, we urge our patients to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. While you’re here, we can perform an oral cancer screening.
In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have received a lot of public attention. There is less awareness about oral cancer, even though it claims almost 10,000 lives in the United States every year. If you smoke, or have tested positive for HPV, you have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
Here are five vital things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.
- About 80% of people with oral cancer use some variety of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
- 40% of individuals who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer die within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.
- In many cases, it is almost impossible for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce inconspicuous symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be examined by a professional.
- HPV (the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the numerous strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most often linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
- Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.
We use state-of-the-art Vizilite technology in our oral cancer screenings. This is a painless procedure that only takes a few minutes, and helps us to identify abnormal oral cell lesions that are hard to see in an ordinary visual exam.