Oral cancer is on the rise and with it the need for cancer screening. Some forms of oral cancer have more than doubled in prevalence since 2002. In fact, about 50,000 people this year will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and only about half of them will live for another five years. Every year, almost 10,000 people die in the United States due to oral cancer. The biggest reason for low survival rates is lack of early detection. That is why oral cancer screenings are so important. The Oral Cancer Foundation states that the majority of oral cancer cases aren’t noticed until they have already spread to other organs.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
While there is no single cause of all types of oral cancer, there has been a staggering rise in HPV-related oral cancer all over the world. There are many different strains of HPV, and most will never develop into cancer, but at least 1% of people do not have an immune system that can fight HPV-16 and are at great risk of developing cancer because of it.
Other causes of oral cancer include smoking, excessive drinking, chewing tobacco, UV damage, and old age.
Screening and Prevention
Since oral cancer often goes unnoticed until it has already spread to other organs, early detection is important. Here at Charm dental, we can offer you oral cancer screenings along with your routine dental checkup. The dentist will visually examine, not just your teeth, but the entire oral cavity. Beyond the visual examination checking for sores and lumps, a physical examination will help the dentist determine if you are experiencing symptoms of oral cancer such as lumps, thickening of the skin, numbness, or pain.
If you seem to exhibit symptoms that point to oral cancer, you may be referred to further screening. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today!