More people are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. In the past, traditional risk factors such as drinking, smoking and using chewing tobacco were considered the only cause of oral cancer, usually found in people age 40 and older. Oral cancer is now being found in a younger population of men and women due to their exposure to the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). That is why the Centers for Disease Control recommends that all patients over the age of 17 be screened annually for oral cancer.
Oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when it’s caught early. Early detection and diagnosis can make a tremendous difference in life expectancy; oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages. However, oral cancer is often non symptomatic in these early stages.
At the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry we use special screening technology that has proven successful in identifying soft tissue abnormalities, which in combination with a regular visual examination, provide a comprehensive oral screening procedure for our patients.
An annual Oral Cancer Screening is painless and fast, and could help save your life. Using a specially designed light, we can detect changes in your mouth that will usually go undetected with the naked eye.
This procedure uses a unique three-wavelength technology, which illuminates possible areas of change that may signal the occurrence or early beginnings of oral cancer. Numerous studies show that this advanced Oral Cancer Screening improved the ability to visualize invisible mucosal changes and clinically suspicious lesions.
Oral cancer is far too often discovered in late stages of development, the primary reason for the consistently high death rate. Oral cancer treatment often results in disfiguring effects on patients, and can seriously compromise their quality of life. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 40,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.
This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely, so the best practice for a long and healthy life is to err on the safe side with a yearly oral cancer screening appointment.