Long time no write. So what brings me to scribe a blog this month? Well in addition to April Fool’s day, and paying Uncle Sammy more than his fair share day, April is also Oral Cancer Awareness month.
I know I’ve touched on this topic before, but oral cancer is on the rise. Approximately 42,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with this form of cancer in a year. It’s a very broad term and a very broad encompassing disease that includes cancers in the mouth, oropharaynx (throat), lips, tongue, and tonsils.
Here are some stats:
- 42,000 people in the US per year
- 640,000 people in the world per year
- 5th year in a row where we’ve seen an increase in oral cancer incidence
- Early stage survival rate is 80-90%
- Late stage survival rate is 43%
There are two major pathways to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco (both inhaled and smokeless) and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause. The other pathway is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.
If you need any more information on it either ask me or visit the oral cancer foundation website. Oralcancerfoundation.org
In recognition of Oral Cancer Awareness month, we opened our office to the general public for free oral cancer screenings all month during all working hours. It was released via a press release to some local TV stations and also posted on the Oral Cancer Foundation website. Additionally we went out to the Poway Spring Family Festival and did some free oral cancer screenings there. Here’s our team at the street fair…..
My wife was joking with me the morning of the street fair when I told her we were doing free oral cancer screenings….”who wants to find out that they have oral cancer when they’re at a street fair with their family?” She had a good point, as a matter of fact judging from the amount of people that actually took us up on our offer….(it’s painful to say) she was right on.
It really shouldn’t be that way though. My concern is that people really just don’t understand how much of an impact oral cancer can make on a life, but also how rare it is that a cancer prevalence is on the rise.
A thorough oral cancer screening should only take 5-8min and is completely painless. It is not only a visual inspection of your oral cavity and tissues, it’s also a tactile exam where we check your lymph nodes and salivary glands. An annual oral cancer screening as described above and a Velscope exam (that’s me doing one above) will help us ensure if there is something abnormal have a much greater chance at catching it and treating it early.
Did you find this blog interesting, informative, fun? Did you love it or hate it? Did it gross you out or give you the heebeejeebees? You can share any Poway Dental Arts post with a “Like” on Facebook, a “Tweet” on Twitter, or a “+1” on Google+. Just scroll over the sharing is caring bar. You can leave a reply or comment by adding to the text and pressing the submit comment button.
If you’re looking for a Dentist in San Diego, you can request an appointment online or call the office at 858-487-4727. And always you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only one with access to that email so you’ll always get my authentic response.