The Importance of Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten disease.” While it isn’t one that’s talked about often, the rate of North Americans that develop it is three times that of those who develop cervical cancer. In fact, one person every hour of each day will die from oral cancer.

Much of the reason for that alarming statistic is that it’s discovered in late stages nearly 70 percent of the time – often, too late to fight against it. It’s not all bad news, however. When caught early, oral cancer has one of the highest survival rates of other cancers. More than 8 out of 10 patients will survive the disease with early detection.

That’s why choosing a dentist in Stuart, Florida who is aware of the importance of oral cancer screening is essential, particularly if you’re at high risk for developing the disease.

The best dentist will have a number of methods to determine your risk for oral cancer. If you’ve ever used tobacco products, your risk for acquiring the disease is much higher. Additionally, those with a history of oral cancer in the family, people who’ve been exposed to the HPV (human papilloma) virus which can be contracted during sexual intercourse and oral sex, and those over the age of 40, are all more susceptible to oral cancer than others.

More and more, oral cancer is striking younger people who don’t use tobacco or abuse alcohol, due to the higher instances of developing one of the two strains of HPV, HPV-16 and HPV-18. In fact, HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women will get the virus at some point during their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you fall into any these categories, which is just about everyone, it becomes even more important to be aware of the disease and speak to your dentist in Stuart, Florida, like Dr. Rita Medwid, who will provide an initial screening for oral cancer that includes a visible inspection, feeling mouth tissues for any sores or masses that could indicate cancerous cells.

A thorough cancer screening takes just minutes – but could potentially add years to your life. By taking the appropriate steps to screen your mouth every year, beginning with a phone call to your dentist, oral cancer can be caught right at the start, allowing for effective treatments, and a longer life.

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