5 Critical Oral Cancer Facts

oral cancer dental checkup Florissant

At Koch Park Dental in Florissant, we urge people to come in twice a year for a dental checkup and cleaning.  If you avoid checkups because you don’t think you have any tooth decay, perhaps getting an oral cancer screening is a more convincing reason.

In the last few decades, lung and breast cancer have had a lot of public attention. There is relatively less awareness of oral cancer, even though it claims almost 10,000 lives every year in the United States. If you smoke or have acquired HPV, you have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.

At Koch Park Dental, we work to increase awareness of oral cancer and the importance of early diagnosis. Here are five essential things to know about oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (back of mouth and throat) cancers.

  • About 80% of men and women with oral cancer use some kind of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes).
  • 40% of individuals who receive late-stage diagnosis of oral cancer die within five years. The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.
  • In many cases, it is almost impossible for the individual to detect oral and oropharyngeal cancers because they can produce indistinct symptoms or no symptoms at all. Any abnormality in the mouth or throat, even if small and painless, should be checked by a dentist or doctor.
  • HPV (the most frequent sexually transmitted disease in the US) is the most common cause of oropharyngeal cancer. Of the various strains of HPV, HPV16 is the one most often linked to oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Black males have a higher risk of dying from oral cancer than whites.

At Koch Park Dental in Florissant, we provide oral cancer screenings, as well as general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Koch Park Dental – Martin L. Buchheit, DDS:

314-254-8458

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

2149 Charbonier Rd
Florissant, Missouri
63033

 

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What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

Florissant oral cancer screening

During routine dental examinations at Koch Park Dental om Florissant, we may look for signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer refers to cancers in the tongue, mouth, lips, jaw, and throat. Many people don’t realize the seriousness of oral cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 39,000 people will get oral cancer this year.1

Consider this sobering news from the Oral Cancer Foundation:
“The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely 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).”2

When we perform an oral cancer screening during your dental examination, we will look for red or white spots, bleeding, lumps, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth, any color changes, and mouth sores. Is is critical to tell your dentist if your bite has changed, if you have sores that won’t heal, and prolonged hoarseness. An earache in only one ear can also be an indicator.

The existence of any of these symptoms does not mean you have oral cancer, as they can be caused by any number of other conditions. However, if we discover something unusual, we may order additional tests or refer you to a medical doctor for further diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

It’s probably no surprise that the main risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use. This includes all forms, not just cigarettes. Those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol are also more likely to contract this deadly cancer. People with HPV, a sexually-transmitted virus, have a higher risk and prolonged sun exposure to lips makes lip cancer more likely. All of these previously mentioned factors are lifestyle-related and, to a great extent, preventable. People who don’t use tobacco or drink heavily are statistically far less likely to get oral cancer and a host of other health problems.

For more information about oral cancer screening, contact Koch Park Dental. If you are looking for an experienced dentist who provides general and cosmetic dentistry, we invite you to schedule a consultation.

1“Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer,” The American Cancer Society, January 6, 2015, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer/detailedguide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-key-statistics, accessed on January 9, 2015.

2“Oral Cancer Facts,” http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/, accessed on January 9, 2015

 

Contact Koch Park Dental – Martin L. Buchheit, DDS:

314-254-8458

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

2149 Charbonier Rd
Florissant, Missouri
63033