For many of us, April is the month to expect flower-producing showers and some gentle sunshine, but did you know that it is also the month for oral cancer awareness? This is a little-known fact, yet thousands of new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year by your local Bossier family dentist; and the prognosis is not good. Roughly 43% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will not make it past the 5-year mark.
These figures are quite disheartening and it seems they are not improving. Part of the reason is because oral cancer is not easy to detect. The earliest symptoms only appear after the disease has progressed to a serious stage.
What Can Be Done?
Dr. Chris Mott, a Bossier family dentist, always tests for oral cancer when you come for regular exams because early detection is vital to successful treatment. Oral cancer is known as the invisible killer, and this is why the Academy of General Dentistry is raising awareness about this deadly disease. According to the group, it is imperative that people get a dental exam twice a year from a general dentist. These visits present the best opportunity for diagnosing cases of oral cancer in their early stages.
Dentists are the first line of defense in the early diagnosis of the disease. Given that more than 60% of Americans see a dentist annually, conducting “opportunistic” cancer checkups on people who come to the dental clinic everyday would present tens of thousands of chances to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Dentists are now being encouraged to aggressively screen all the patients who come to their clinics.
Spread The Word!
There is also an awareness campaign going on with the goal of educating the public on the seriousness of oral cancer and the need for a regular screening of the disease. Similar public awareness campaigns have played a major role in the early detection of cervical, breast and prostate cancers. Most people now know the importance of going for a mammogram, PAP smear or prostate exam at least once a year. The success of these awareness campaigns can also be replicated in the fight against oral cancer.
The next time you go to see your dentist, ask for an oral cancer screening. The dentist will screen your oral cavity, which includes your lips, floor of the mouth, cheek lining, front part of the tongue, the gums and the roof of your mouth. Your throat begins at the tender part of the roof of your mouth and includes the back area of your tongue as well.
Your dentist will try to feel if there are any lumps or abnormal tissue changes in your neck, head, the cheeks as well as in the oral cavity itself. Using a VELscope, a special type of flashlight, the dentist will examine your mouth, looking for any sores and discolored tissue. Always confirm if this type of screening is part of your checkup and if it will continue to be a part of your regular dental exams.
Visit your Bossier family dentist today!
When oral cancer is not detected and treated early, it can be deadly. The best way to head this type of cancer off at the pass is to have regular preventive checkups. Dr. Chris Mott is a well-known and reputable Bossier family dentist and is always accepting new patients. Give us a call today and schedule your next dental appointment.