April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Did you know that this year alone close to 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer? It will cause over 8,600 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Oral cancer claims more lives than cervical, skin and testicular cancer combined. As with most types of cancers, doing what you can to prevent it – or detecting it early – is essential. Your dentist plays a crucial role in early detection of oral cancer. By regularly visiting your dentist, you can help fight, and ultimately prevent, this terrible disease.
Many people do not realize that oral cancer screenings are a routine part of each dental examination at Dentistry of the Carolinas. Regular check-ups, including examination of the entire mouth, are key in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. The good news? A thorough oral cancer screening takes less than five minutes. And, when found early, oral cancers have an 80-90% survival rate. Read here on how oral cancer was discovered in one of our patients during an exam.
Are You At Risk?
Of those individuals who are aware of oral cancer, most believe they are not at risk because they do not smoke cigarettes. In fact, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. That’s why it is more pressing than ever for all adults to have regular oral cancer screenings.
Knowing the risks can also help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risk factors for oral cancer, including:
• Smoking and tobacco use are long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
• Heavy alcohol use makes you more likely to develop oral cancer.
• The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.
As crucial as your dental health is, your oral health is even more critical. After all, white, healthy teeth are important, but this means nothing if you have a disease such as cancer. Regular trips to your dentist can save your life.
This month, as part of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness Month, be sure that those you love are aware of the risks of oral cancer and encourage everyone you know to visit their dentist soon. For those needing a dentist or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dentistryofthecarolinas.com/contact-us.