April is known as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a scary statistic, but approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. And believe it or not, your dentist is not only the expert in this diagnosis, but often the first line of defense against oral cancer, through the process of early detection and discovery.
These are frightening facts, but oral cancer will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 42,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about on a regular basis such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma). Although smoking and tobacco use is still the main cause of oral cancer, especially with the development of vapes, the fastest growing segment are actually young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus.
Because oral cancer is such a major risk factor for everyone, it is important to make sure to regularly visit the dentist in order to get oral cancer screenings. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Not only will you ensure you haven’t developed oral cancer, but you will also maintain healthy dental practices with a thorough professional cleaning and examination. Proactive measures taken is not only going to keep your smile healthy, but also nice and clean.
For more information about oral cancer, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.
Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.