Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month! Many of you might not know that every comprehensive exam, periodic exam, and cleaning at our office include oral cancer screenings. These screenings are more important now than ever, as oral cancer is on the rise.
Almost 50,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. Unfortunately, it kills one person every hour of every day in the U.S., and approximately 132 new individuals will be diagnosed each day. Oral cancer is usually caused by the use of tobacco and alcohol, and through the exposure to the HPV-16 virus, which is now the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S.
Currently, young, non-smoking individuals are the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population. When found early, oral cancers have an 80-90% survival rate, making your preventative/routine visits to the dentist so vital.
As with many cancers, early detection is key. The majority of oral cancer is found at a late stage, with a very high death rate (about 43%) at five years from diagnosis. Late stage diagnosis is occurring, not because these cancers are particularly hard to discover or diagnose, but because of a lack of public awareness.
We encourage you to visit our office for regular preventative care. Seeing us at least twice a year for dental cleanings (with your hygienist) and once a year for a periodic exam (with the doctor) is typically recommended. Please let our office know if you have any questions or concerns – we are always here for you! We’re more than happy to schedule a brief, no-charge oral cancer screening for anyone interested throughout April.
In good health,
Dr. Cook & Team