What every person needs to know about oral cancer
The Forgotten Disease
Oral cancer is one of the few types of cancer that haven't experienced a significantly reduced mortality rate in the past 30 years. In fact, the number of North Americans developing oral cancer is three times the number who develop cervical cancer. Sadly, one North American dies of oral cancer every hour of every day.
Oral cancer is discovered in late stages about 70% of the time, and often that is simply too late.
If You're Sexually Active, You're At Risk.
Oral cancer had traditionally been associated with tobacco usage, and it's true that the majority of oral cancer victims smoke or use chewing tobacco, consume alcohol and are over 40. But the group experiencing the highest growth rate of oral cancer incidents does not fit this traditional "at risk" profile. More and more, oral cancer is striking younger people who don't use tobacco or abuse alcohol.
In many cases, the cause appears to be one of two strains of the human papilloma virus [HPV-16 or HPV-18] that can be contracted during sexual intercourse and especially oral sex.
As a result, health care experts recommend annual oral cancer screening for all adults aged 18 and older. If you smoke or use chewing tobacco, screenings are recommended every six months.
We Care...And We Can Help
Our offices have purchased a state-of-the-art device called the VELscope® Oral Cancer Screening System. Along iwth our conventional oral screening exam, which includes looking inside your mouth for any lesions that might be visible to the naked eye and feeling your neck for any suspicious bumps, we can use the VELscope to literally see beneath the surface to detect potentially dangerous growths we might have otherwise missed.
The VELscope exam takes about two minuites as part of a regular hygiene check-up, involves no pan or inconvenience, and is completely safe. We think you'll appreciate the peace-of-mind this screening can provide.
If you have any questions about oral cancer or the VELscope exam, please let us know. Your oral health is the key to your overall health, and we want to help you in any way we can.