Dentists are the frontline and the best overall defense against oral cancer. Tobacco and alcohol are major risk factors for developing oral cancer. We highly recommend you get an oral cancer screening once a year.
Oral cancer is a broad term that includes cancers of the lips, tongue, mouth and throat. In general, it is an abnormal growth of cells in any one of these sites and has the potential to spread to other areas of the body.
You may be surprised to learn that one American dies every hour from oral cancer; a death rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years. Oral cancer can go unnoticed until it has progressed to later stages. Recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society indicate that while the incidence and death rates for cancers overall has decreased, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5% and the death rate has increased by 1.5%. Oral Cancer KILLS as many people as melanoama, and is now more common than leukemia.
As with any cancer, early detection and diagnosis is key; it’s important for patients to see an oral healthcare professional regularly, particularly if they are in the high-risk groups — those who use tobacco, abuse alcohol or have been exposed to HPV. Oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, III and IV, leading to a five-year survival rate of 57%.
The office of Dr. Nimisha Patel (Radiant Dental) has partnered with The Oral Cancer Foundation in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month and will be offering free oral cancer screenings on Month of May to the public.