At Cornwall Dental Arts we want our patients to come in twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning. If you skip a checkup because you don’t think you have any cavities, remember there’s more than that to your visit, because we perform oral cancer screenings, too.
Lung and breast cancer get a lot of public attention. There is less awareness of oral cancer, even though it claims thousands of lives every year. If you smoke or have tested positive for HPV, you have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
We work to elevate awareness of oral cancer and the significance of early diagnosis. Here are five important 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 dentist or doctor.
- 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.
At Cornwall Dental Arts, we use VELscope light to examine your cheeks, teeth, and gums for signs of oral cancer. It is a fantastic, non-invasive screening device that helps us to find any abnormalities.
By having an oral cancer screening, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve got a clean bill of health. If we happen to find an abnormality, then you’re on the road to early treatment, which dramatically improves the chances of a positive outcome.