According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, there is a death from oral cancer every 60 minutes. The reason your providers at Floss Dental Boutique stress both professional and self-screenings is that we know the survival rate from these cancers is dramatically affected by early diagnosis. In fact, four out of every 10 cases are fatal within five years without early detection. Education is crucial to keeping our patients healthy.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
In the past, we saw the highest oral cancer rates in older men with a history of alcohol and tobacco use. Pipe, cigar, and cigarette smoking, as well as chewing tobacco all increase your risk. Recently, we have begun to see an increase in cases due to higher rates of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections in younger patients. This virus can cause cancer decades after initial infection, and can occur in individuals without a history of smoking or alcohol use.
Oral Cancer Awareness Month is celebrating its 21st year this April. The combination of professional dental screenings and a strong patient education campaign to promote early detection will arm our patients with powerful weapons against this devastating disease. Every re-care appointment with our dental team at Floss includes an oral cancer screening.
Do a Self-Assessment for Oral Cancer Monthly
We also encourage our patients to check themselves at least monthly for the following common signs and symptoms of oral cancer:
- A lip or mouth sore that does not heal
- A white, black, or reddish patch inside the mouth
- Crusty or eroded areas of oral tissue
- Unexplained pain or bleeding in the mouth
- Any immobile, hard, oral growth that does not go away
These signs and symptoms should prompt immediate contact with our office for a thorough evaluation. And if you are not already scheduled for your next hygiene appointment, call the office to get your time reserved.
For more information about oral cancer, please see the Oral Cancer Foundation’s Check Your Mouth™ website. And as always, feel free to contact our office with any questions.