April 15, 2021
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and that means it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Independence.
While regular dental appointments are crucial year round, April is the time to remind you and your friends and family about the dangers of oral cancer.
According to Dr. David Schaefer, regular comprehensive dental examinations with oral cancer screenings help prevent and detect oral cancer in the early stages.
Oral Cancer Statistics
Around the world, new cases of oral cancer exceed 640,000 every year with 54,000 of those cases diagnosed in the United States.
Oral cancer causes nearly 9,800 deaths every year or 1 person every sixty minutes every day. Of those diagnosed in America, only about 57 percent will be around in five years. That’s almost half.
Sadly, this number hasn’t gotten any better over the years. In fact, the survival rate for oral cancer from five years decades ago was 50 percent. That’s only a 7 percent improvement.
Why the Rate is Still High
While oral cancers are not difficult to diagnose, most aren’t discovered until they have spread and are in the later stages because there is no program in the United States to screen for early diagnosis.
Dentists are usually the first to notice if something doesn’t look right during an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer screenings in Independence are conducted during a comprehensive dental examination.
Sadly, most oral cancers are discovered by doctors after they have metastasized, usually to the neck and lymph nodes.
Had those cancers been discovered early because of a lump, bump, red or white patch noticed by your Independence dentist they probably wouldn’t be as severe. If that isn’t bad enough, the primary lump or tumor has had the opportunity to invade your organs as well.
Identifying Oral Cancer
Any type of oral cancer is very dangerous, especially in the early stages as most symptoms go unnoticed. Oral cancers don’t need symptoms or pain to prosper.
Tongue, throat, cheek, lip, and other types of oral cancers also produce secondary tumors meaning patients who are lucky to survive the first time are 20 times as likely to develop cancer a second time within 5 to 10 years.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
- Red or white patches in mouth
- Sore throat
- Tenderness or pain in lip or mouth
- Mouth sores
- Changes in bite
- Horsy voice
- Hard to chew and swallow
An Oral Cancer Screening in Independence
If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, or haven’t seen your dentist in Independence in some time, call, send a text or a direct message, and schedule an appointment for a comprehensive dental exam and oral cancer screening with Dr. David Schaefer today.