There are two words we often try to avoid completely: Oral cancer. Take a moment, though, to educate yourself about this disease and how to protect yourself–it could save your life.
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that the rate of occurrence of oral cancers has continually increased over the past five years. It also reveals that:
- When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate.
- The majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43 percent at five years from diagnosis (for all stages combined at time of diagnosis).
- Late stage diagnosis is not occurring because most of these cancers are hard to discover, but because of a lack of public awareness coupled with the lack of a national program for opportunistic screenings.
Taking Preventative Steps
Although there’s no way to prevent oral cancer, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk:
- Avoid using all forms of tobacco.
- Adopt a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Protect your lips from excessive exposure to the sun.
- Practice moderation in the consumption of alcohol.
- Conduct a self-exam at least once a month
- Schedule regular dental visits for a thorough examination.
Examine the State of Your Oral Health
When conducting a self-examination, ensure you use a bright light and mirror that will allow you to see clearly into your mouth. Visually check every area of your oral cavity, including your lips, gums, cheeks, entire tongue, back of your throat, the roof of the mouth, and the area under your tongue. If you notice any significant changes in color or the development of sores or skin patches that seem to persist after even a couple weeks, contact us right away.
Also make a physical inspection by feeling your lips and cheeks, along with checking for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes along either side under your lower jaw and neck. Once again, if you notice any changes that are mentioned as signs of oral cancer, get professional assistance right away.
Oral Cancer Screenings
At our office, we utilize a revolutionary, life-saving device that can identify the development of oral cancer at its earliest of stages, even before any of the physical signs mentioned above present themselves. It’s quick, painless, and can help save your life. Contact us today to learn more about this state-of-the-art oral cancer screening procedure, and do everything you can to keep your smile, dazzling, healthy, and cancer free.
As your Gurnee dentist, Dr. Bradley Rule encourages you to take a minute to share this potentially life-saving information with your friends and family, and help fight against the spread of oral cancer.
Does your family have a history of cancer? When was the last time you went to the dentist for an oral cancer screening?