Dental Checkups Are Not Just About Cavities
At Wetaskiwin Family Dental we urge people to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. If you skip twice-yearly dental checkups because you don’t believe you have any cavities, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more persuasive reason to see your dentist regularly. (While your dentist in Wetaskiwin is checking for oral cancer, we encourage you to have a thorough dental examination as well!)
In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have drawn 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 acquired HPV, you have an increased risk for developing oral cancer.
At Wetaskiwin Family Dental, we work 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 vital things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.
1. About 80% of people with oral cancer use some variety of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
2. 40% of men and women who receive a late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer pass away 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 unobtrusive symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be evaluated by a dentist or doctor.
4. HPV (the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the many strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most repeatedly linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
5. Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.