Approximately 43,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year of which only 57% will survive 5 years. The importance of a regular oral screening is necessary to increase the survival rate. Smoking, using alcohol and the human papilloma virus (HPV) has increased the prevalence of oral cancer in the past few years.
As a dentist, I examine teeth, gums and the oral cavity to diagnose disease, including oral cancer. A thorough exam includes completing a visual exam and palpating (feeling) for lumps and bumps inside the mouth, neck and throat areas. Simple tests can screen for HPV and early changes in the oral tissues. This is a painless test with instant results that can be done at your regular office visit. Early detection is the key to survivability. No person should die from oral cancer.
April is National Oral Cancer Awareness month. I urge everyone, young and old, to advocate for themselves and schedule a complete oral healthcare checkup with their dentist to find these lesions early when they are most treatable.r