Oral Cancer Screening
Did you know that oral cancer steals the life of one American every hour? We don't hear much about oral cancer, but 35,000 patients will be diagnosed in 2008. Only half of patients diagnosed with oral cancer will survive longer than five years. Because it is often detected in the later stages, oral cancer's mortality rate is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkins disease, brain, liver, kidney, or ovarian cancer. Treatment for oral cancer often causes disfiguration and lessens the patients quality of life.
Thanks to amazing new technology, dentists and hygienists can quickly and painlessly screen for oral cancer.
All adults should have an annual oral cancer exam because a quarter of oral cancer victims are non-smokers, don't drink, and have no lifestyle factors to heighten their oral cancer risk. Men over 40 are the most prone to the disease, although the number of women with oral cancer has risen in recent years, due to the increased number of women smokers. Patients with lifestyle risks, including any tobacco use, daily alcohol consumption, viral infections, autoimmune deficiencies like HIV, and diabetes, may need more frequent evaluations.
The screening involves a few simple steps. First, you rinse thoroughly with a cleansing solution. Then, your dentist dims the overhead lights and examines your mouth. If a problem is found our dentists can identify the problem area with you.
While all of this information sounds disheartening, if oral cancer is found and treated in the early stages the condition has an 80 to 90-percent cure rate.