Cancer. The 6 letter word that no one wants to hear. Oral cancer is cancer that develops in any part of the mouth. It has one of the highest death rates of all cancers, not because it is hard to diagnose, but rather due to late detection. The early stages of this cancer cause little to no discomfort. This attributes to its historically late discovery. In many cases, a physician or dentist can identify the early stages of oral cancer at a routine visit, the problem is, not enough people are going in for these routine visits. Every 60 minutes, someone dies due to oral cancer when a routine visit to the dentist could have saved their life.
Oral cancer no longer just effects male smokers, like research used to imply. Due to the complexities of the HPV virus, it is difficult if not impossible to define high-risk individuals. HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a viral infection with over 100 different variations. Over 40 versions of HPV are passed through sexual contact that can lead to further problems in the mouth, genitals, or throat. An HPV Infection of the mouth can then lead to oral cancer.
Because the cancer is fast moving and has very few symptoms, it is pertinent that you have an oral cancer screening bi-yearly, especially if you are sexually active.
Detection of oral cancer does not always happen in the dental office.
When brushing, look for any lumps, or abnormalities in your mouth. The Oral Cancer Foundation has resources available on their website for purchase to perform an at-home basic check. If you notice that the abnormality doesn’t go away in two weeks, schedule an oral cancer screening with your dentist.
Oral cancer can advance to an untreatable case in just 6 months. At OC Healthy Smiles, we offer an oral cancer screening at every visit. Our staff is trained to identify abnormalities during your visits, that you may have missed at an at-home check.
Studies show that about 15-25% of patients say that they don’t get an oral cancer screening at their dental visit. At OC Healthy Smiles, we understand the severity of oral cancer, and that is why all patients are screened at all their visit at with us. Our doctors perform a visual evaluation and have the equipment and technology to do a thorough oral cancer screening at every visit.
Call your dentist at OC Healthy Smiles for a comprehensive examination and preventative care appointment today at (714) 545-0484.