April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. Oral cancer is one of several types of cancer grouped in a category called head and neck cancers. Mouth cancer and other head and neck cancers are often treated similarly.
While some think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 115 new individuals each day in the US alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate. Unfortunately, at this time, the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis, and high treatment related morbidity in survivors. Late stage diagnosis is not occurring because most of these cancers are hard to discover, it is because of a lack of public awareness coupled with the lack of a national program for opportunistic screenings which would yield early discovery by medical and dental professionals. Worldwide the problem is far greater, with new cases annually exceeding 450,000.
It is important that you see your dentist on a regular schedule. Even though you may be conducting frequent self-exams, sometimes dangerous spots or sores in the mouth can be very tiny and difficult to see on your own. The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40, but you’re in luck – these screenings take place during a typical dental checkup.
For more information about oral cancer, call Dr. Schneider in Mooresville, NC at 704-660-1802 or visit www.schneidersmiles.com.
Dr. Schneider proudly serve patients from Mooresville and all surrounding areas.