Dental Blog

Oral Cancer Screenings Work – Here’s Why

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

In celebration of Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April, we’re getting the word out about oral cancer. This disease is becoming more common in younger people, and early detection is still our best line of defense.

A simple screening, which takes a few minutes during your dental checkup, is an easy and effective way to detect and treat oral cancer as early as possible. Why schedule your screening?

Oral cancer is one of the easiest cancers to detect and diagnose. Your dentist will visually examine your cheeks, gums, floor of the mouth, behind teeth, palate and tonsil area for thickening in the oral soft tissues, or red or white lesions or lumps. These early symptoms of oral cancer help your dentist know if you need to see a specialist for a biopsy.

Early detection can save lives. Due in part to lack of awareness, 60% of all oral cancer cases are found in the late stages of the disease. When detected at this stage, there is a 20% 5-year survival rate, versus a 75% survival rate when detected early.

Get screened regularly. Adults should be screened at least once a year, ideally during your annual dental exam. Men and women over age 60, those with exposure to HPV-16, or those who use tobacco or drink heavily are all considered to be at risk and should consider screenings twice a year.

Remember to ask for an oral cancer screening at your next dental checkup!

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