This is the reason why we ask you to stick out your tongue during your routine visit!!
1. I cannot get oral cancer. I don’t smoke nor drink.
2. Oral cancer is a rare disease so my chances of getting it are very small.
3. I have full dentures. I don’t need to go to the dentist regularly.
4. Oral cancer is for older people.
5. If I should be diagnosed with oral cancer, it will be easily treated and I will be cured.
Oral cancer is a very common disease affecting over 48,000 people in the United States alone, and this number continues to grow exponentially. Every 60 minutes of every day someone in the U.S. dies from oral cancer.
The biggest concern is that two-thirds of all oral cancers are detected at a late stage of the disease, making the average survival rate 50 percent at five years. This overall oral cancer survival rate is worse than almost all cancers that are commonly known.
The goal is to detect early cancer changes in the head, neck, and inside of the mouth. This is accomplished through routine oral cancer screening by a dentist for everyone 16 years and older, teeth or no teeth. The earlier oral cancer is detected, the better the chances for limited surgery intervention and a much longer survival rate.
The most important change in the last ten years is the link between oral cancers and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV). The incidences of oral cancers at the age of 30 or younger have spiked due to the spread of HPV.
Early detection of oral cancer is the key to reducing invasive surgical procedures and extending survival rates. Early detection is accomplished through routine oral cancer screenings for everyone beginning at age 16 and continuing throughout the life of the patient. Risk factors still remain from excessive tobacco use or alcohol consumption, although HPV is an explosively growing risk factor for oral cancer. HPV, in the absence of other risk factors, can lead to oral cancer.
During your routine visit, dentists check your head and neck as well as inside of your mouth to see any sign of oral cancer. It would help find early detection of oral cancer. Ask your dental professional about.