Cancer is a scary disease. It often strikes without warning and can change your life in an instant. Fortunately, your doctor can monitor you for signs of most types of cancer. Because early detection can save your life, it’s important to have regular visits to screen for early signs.
One type of cancer that doesn’t get as much attention is oral cancer. Because patients don’t typically hear much about the signs or symptoms, oral cancers are often discovered at later stages, negatively impacting the survival rate.
While other types of cancers are declining as awareness for them increases, the rate of oral cancer is actually on the rise, especially in the younger population. Although tobacco use is an obvious risk factor for oral cancer, it isn’t the only one. Alcohol use, genetics, age (40 and over), and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) are all contributing factors to the development of this disease.
Most cases of oral cancer are discovered at a very late stage, after many opportunities for treatment have already passed. Fortunately, these statistics don’t need to stay so bleak. One way to combat the rise in cases of oral cancer is to have regular screenings. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual oral cancer screening for women and men ages 17 and up.
While you’re already at the dentist every six months for your regular exam and cleaning, you have a perfect opportunity to have an oral cancer screening. Having your dentist perform a quick exam twice a year will ensure that any problems are caught early enough to be receptive to treatment.
At Dr. Roberts Family Dentistry, screenings for oral cancer can start as early as sixteen years old and are performed at no charge at every regular cleaning! We use cutting-edge technology called VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System to scan your mouth for signs of oral cancer, pre-cancer or other abnormal lesions that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. If that sounds scary, don’t fear. The exam is quick and pain-free: Since the screening only uses a light, there’s no prodding, unpleasant dyes, rinses or waiting involved. This simple screening not only will give you a peace of mind but it may save your life.Back to Patient Education