Early Detection saves Lives
How often have we heard this often repeated phrase. And with oral cancer it becomes imperative! With nearly one life lost every hour of every day, oral cancer claims more lives than cervical cancer, brain cancer, skin cancer, and Hodgkin's disease. Since 2/3rds of oral cancers are discovered in the late stages of the disease, the prognosis is often poor, with the 5 year survival rate only 50%. Yet if discovered early, this rate increases to 90%.
As the close relationship between physical health and oral health is more clearly understood, dentists are at the forefront of the battle against oral cancer through early detection. There is now attention being drawn to the significant increase in the incidence of HPV cancers. Among the risk factors for oral cancer - tobacco, alcohol, betel nut and tobacco chewing - HPV is now also a causative factor for oral cancer. However one in four people diagnosed have no risk factors at all. The signs and symptoms of oral cancer are often first noted in the mouth as small ulcers, discolorations, lumps, hard spots, tissue thickenings, bleeding growths, and white patches, which go unnoticed by patients because they are completely painless.
A simple 5 minute oral cancer screening which checks the mouth, cheeks, tongue, and throat is a first line of defense in checking for oral cancer. Just like an annual physical, an oral cancer screening should be done every 6-12 months and is tremendously important. Remember - early detection saves lives! It could be yours!