April has been designated Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, in order to raise awareness for these types of cancer, to highlight the risk factors and to motivate the public to have an oral cancer screening. Approximately 48,250 people in the US will be diagnosed with Oral Cancer in 2016. That number, compared to the approximately 243,000 new cases of breast cancer expected in 2016 in the US, may seem less significant. However the mortality rate among oral cancers is currently 43%, compared to 16% for breast cancers (male & female)!
Periodontist, Dr. Ed DeAndrade, at Anthem Periodontics in Las Vegas, Nevada, are helping to raise awareness regarding oral cancer. Success in treating any cancer is aided by early detection. Oral cancer screenings are not part of a regular medical physical, and there is no national program implemented for opportunistic screenings. Risk factors contributing to incidents of oral cancer include the use of tobacco products and the excessive consumption of alcohol, as well as exposure to the HPV virus (more commonly linked to cancers of the cervix). However, in 7% of new patient diagnosis in the US, none of the above risk factors were prevalent.
The number of new diagnosis for oral cancer has been rising in the US for a decade. And, recent studies indicate the percentage of new cases in people under 45 are no lower than those over 45. Considering the the number of new diagnoses that present without any of the known risk factors, an oral cancer screening is vital to early detection and recommended for everyone. The morbidity rates are cut in half for patients who begin treatment during the early stages of development.
Dr. DeAndrade conducts a thorough oral cancer screening for all of the patients at Anthem Periodontics in Las Vegas, not just those with increased risk factors, and is recommended by the Oral Cancer Foundation. April has been designated Oral Cancer Awareness month again, to remind us all, to eliminate or reduce your use of tobacco and alcohol, and to make that appointment now to get an oral cancer screening. Your health and quality of life may depend on it.