THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE ESTIMATES that about 40,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with mouth or throat cancer in 2012. About 8,000 people will die of the disease.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, they believe that roughly $3.2 billion is spent in the U.S. each year on treatment of cancers in the head or neck. Further, of the roughly 40,000 newly diagnosed cases, barely half of them will survive the next five years.
WHY IS THE DEATH RATE SO HIGH FOR ORAL CANCER?
Oral Cancer isn’t hard to discover or diagnose. Dental professionals have the benefit of training to see suspicious tissue. The challenge is that the detection is often too late. Without the benefit of professional routine observation, many times people become alarmed when the cancer has progressed to later, more dangerous stages.
SYMPTOMS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
- Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
- A thick or hard spot or lump
- A roughened or crusted area
- Numbness, pain or tenderness
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
WHY CAN ORAL CANCER GO UNNOTICED?
- Oral cancer can progress without pain and without alarming symptoms.
- People don’t come in for frequent dental checkups.
- Sometimes, even if people are coming in regularly, their dentist might not check for it.
ANOTHER ALARMING FACT: The survival rates for other cancers has improved over the last few decades. This cannot be said for oral cancer. The death rate is much higher for oral cancer than for several other cancers we more routinely hear about, including thyroid cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and laryngeal cancer.
HOW CAN ORAL CANCER EXAMS HELP?
An annual oral cancer exam, along with regular visual checkups by Dr. Brucken or Dr. Stubbs will provide you with a comprehensive oral screening procedure helping to ensure you aren’t at risk for oral cancer. The exam is quick and painless, and it could help save your life.
THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY also recommends patients have a complete soft tissue examination (standard visual exam) at least once a year.
Comfort Dental takes these oral cancer screenings seriously & the best part is it only takes a few moments while you are getting your regular dental cleaning or exam.
IT IS OUR GOAL TO KEEP YOU AS HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE. Next time you visit our office, visit with Dr. Brucken or Dr. Stubbs about your oral cancer screening. It may be a standard evaluation in our office, and it means peace of mind for your and your family.