Oral Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

Oral cancers are on the rise and an oral cancer screening can save your life. Dentists perform oral cancer screenings as part of a regular dental checkup.checkup

Our mouths and throats are vulnerable to cancers but the good news is that many cancer and pre-cancerous lesions in the oral cavity – including the lips, cheeks, teeth, jaw and throat can be found early during routine screenings.

The screening consists of several parts including a visual check for suspicious looking areas or lesions and palpating or feeling for anything unusual. Special oral cancer screening devices that identify suspicious cell changes may also be used. Patients who smoke, use smokeless tobacco, drink alcohol or have tested positive for the HPV virus are especially vulnerable to oral cancers.

Despite the many advances against cancer in recent decades, the statistics on oral cancers remain discouraging: more than 60 percent of cases are diagnosed in the late stages, and the five-year survival rate is a disappointing 59 percent. Moreover, oral cancer is increasing in people traditionally at low risk, a phenomenon partly attributed to the rise of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus, or HPV. Early detection raises the survival rates dramatically. Celebrity cases of oral cancers such as Jim Kelly and Michael Douglas are helping to spread the word about the importance of screening.

Only about 60% of adults visit the dentist regularly and the 40% who do not are likely to have the highest risk factors. If you have loved ones that avoid the dentist – get them to make an appointment. If they are avoiding dental visits because of anxiety or fear there is sedation available that makes dental visits easier. Remember that prevention and early detection is always less expensive than treating a serious disease.

Please contact Medford, OR preventative dentists Rothfus Family Dental today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your appointment.