Oral cancer is a serious, yet often overlooked form of cancer. Each year, nearly 43,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. In 2014, oral and esophogeal cancer will claim the lives of over 7800 people. The number one reason that people lose the battle with oral cancer is that is often overlooked and not diagnosed until it reaches the later stages.
Like most cancers, oral cancer can be treated or even cured when it is detected early, before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Annual screenings are an extremely important part of your dental exam. Make sure to get screened at your next dental check-up.
At Fresh Dental of Richardson, oral cancer screenings are high tech. We use the latest technology to detect abnormal tissue, making early diagnosis achievable. The Velscope screening device relies upon a special light, which displays abnormal tissue distinctly from normal, healthy tissue. A screening exam with the Velscope can truly save your life. Remember, a screening exam has the ability to detect changes in tissue, but a positive result is not a diagnosis of cancer. As in all screening exams, only a biopsy can provide a reliable diagnosis. Schedule a Velscope screening exam.
In addition to an annual screening exam, monthly self-examinations will help in detecting any changes in your oral tissues that may need the attention of your dentist. For instructions on how to perform a monthly oral self-exam, click here.
Risk Factors For Oral Cancer
Patients often assume that because they do not use tobacco products, smoke or drink alcohol, then they are not at risk for oral cancer. The truth is, cancers in people under 40 and in people with no lifestyle risk factors are on the increase. Attributed, in part, to the HPV-16 virus, oral cancer has been diagnosed with incresing numbers in patients who never drink or smoke. Here are the known risk factors for oral cancer:
- Age 40 and older
- Tobacco or alcohol use (combined use of alcohol and tobacco increases risk)
- Presence of HPV-16 virus
- Frequent use of tanning lights (lip cancer)
- 25% of oral cancers are in patients with no known risk factors
Get Screened Today
An oral cancer screening can detect signs of abnormal tissue, often even before it has turned into cancer. Make an oral cancer screening a part of your annual dental health check-up. For more information about oral cancer screening, contact us.