Every hour, an American dies from oral cancer. This often overlooked cancer kills more people across the nation than either cervical cancer or melanoma. One reason for this is few people are regularly screened for oral cancer. Patients diagnosed with oral cancer have roughly a 50% chance of living more than five years. One of the best determiners of survival is how early the disease is caught. That is why Dr. Sander I. White encourages all adult patients to come for an oral cancer screening at our Broomall office at least once a year.
Most people who develop oral cancer have risk factors like tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Typically they're over the age of 40 and may have been diagnosed with oral cancer before. But more and more frequently, patients who get oral cancer have no risk factors at all. One reason for this is HPV, or human papillomavirus. This is a very common infection; roughly one in four people in the United States carry it. Although most cases of HPV will resolve on their own without ever manifesting symptoms, HPV which does not clear up over time can lead to cancers including oral cancer in patients with no other risk factors.
Because this cancer can manifest without early warning signs in people without obvious risk factors, it is essential to receive routine oral cancer screenings, a service provided by your dentist at Advanced Dental Concepts. We will often notice a problem even before you do during your regular dental checkup. At a minimum, oral cancer screenings should take place at least once a year, although we usually recommend dental checkups twice a year for general care purposes.
Between dental visits, pay attention to your mouth, and watch for any of the signs of oral cancer, including:
Your best chance of beating oral cancer is early detection. At Advanced Dental Concepts, we will help you watch for the danger signs as part of every routine checkup. If you are due for a dental exam, contact us to schedule one as soon as possible, or use our online contact form to request an appointment.