Oral Cancer Screening
What Causes Oral Cancer?
This year over 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. That is a little over 100 new cases EACH DAY in the US. The rate is increasing day by day! Other names for oral cancer include mouth cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, and tonsil cancer. There are two known pathways leading to oral cancer. This first is tobacco and alcohol use. The other is through exposure to HPV (Human Papillomavirus – HPV16). When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates are good (80-90%). Unfortunately, most oral cancers are not detected until a late stage, which is why the death rate from oral cancer is high (45% five years after diagnosis). In the US, oral cancer kills one person every hour of every day; this is why our dentists believe taking an oral cancer screening test is vital to helping maintain your oral health.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
In the past, oral cancer was believed to be associated mostly with tobacco use. This is no longer the case. In fact, in people younger than 50 years old, HPV is now believed to be the main causative agent. Because the risk factors now include tobacco, alcohol, and/or exposure to HPV-16, nearly every adult in the US is at risk for developing oral cancer.
For this reason, our dentists at Justin Dental and Braces recommends basic oral cancer screenings twice per year. This is similar to other cancer screenings like mammogram, PSA-test, and Pap-smear. Like any cancer, it is only through early detection that your chances for survival improve.
Cancer Screening at Justin Dental and Braces
Every time you have a cleaning and check-up at Justin Dental and Braces, our dentists and hygienists will do a visual oral cancer screening for you. These oral cancer screenings have the ability to detect early stages of oral cancer before a lesion is visible to our eyes.
Furthermore, if you have a lump, bump, crack, ulcer, spot or other area of concern in/on your mouth, lips, tongue, palate, gums, cheek, or throat, we ask that you call us immediately so that we can see you for an additional exam.