April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 43,250 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. In order to raise awareness of this life-threatening disease, the foundation has set up events across the country throughout April. To do our part, we want to share some sobering statistics about the disease and remind our patients about our effective screening practices.
A Troubling Trend
Oral or pharyngeal cancers are deadly diseases. They will cause 1 death in the U.S. every 24 hours. Of the newly diagnosed, more than half will not live another 5 years. Worldwide, the statistics are even scarier; 640,000 new cases develop globally each year.
A Growing Risk Factor
While many people think tobacco and/or alcohol use are the main causes of these cancers, researchers have found that the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population are non-smokers under the age of fifty. The cause, they say, is the human papilloma virus, particularly HPV16.
HPV is a common, sexually transmitted virus, which infects about 40 million Americans today. There are over 130 strains of HPV, the majority of which are thought to be harmless. But approximately 1% of those infected have a lack of immune response to the HPV16 strain, which is a primary causative agent in oral cancer.
Jacksonville’s Front Line Defender Against Oral Cancer
Dentists are the first line of defense against oral cancer. We can see precursor tissue changes that signal the presence of the disease. How important is early detection? Caught before the cancer spreads anywhere, a patient’s survival rate is above 80%.
At our office, we use state-of-the-art technology to help catch this condition in the early stages. Our laser detection system, VELscope, uses a bright blue light to show changes in your mouth that may not have been normally seen. The screening procedure is quick and pain-free. In about two minutes, with no unpleasant rinses or stains involved, our Jacksonville patients can take the necessary precaution to beat this growing menace.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today
Contact our office if you’d like to schedule a screening or if you have questions about oral cancer. Additionally, The Oral Cancer Foundation’s website, www.oralcancerfoundation.org, has a wealth of facts, figures, and explanations.