April can bring many things: Rain, flowers and warmer weather. But it can also bring about discussions of a more serious topic: Oral cancer awareness. Here at Dr. Robert Mitchell’s Dallas dental practice, we are working this month – and every month – to raise awareness.
During the month of April, dental professionals around the world work to raise awareness of this illness — the sixth most common cancer.
The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer in 2013. About 8,000 people will die of oral cancer.
While scientists do not know the exact cause of oral cancer, research shows heavy use of tobacco products and alcohol consumption, HPV (human papilloma virus) and excessive sun exposure could increase your risk.
Because oral cancer is usually not diagnosed in its early stages, less than half of all oral cancer patients are cured. In fact, of all major cancers, oral cancer has the worst five-year survival rate at about 57 percent.
But there is some good news: If detected during the early stages, the survival rate jumps to 80 percent or more.
At Dr. Robert Mitchell’s dental office, we strive to educate our Dallas patients of the risks associated with this illness. We offer oral cancer screenings to our patients. During this exam, Dr. Mitchell feels for lumps or irregular tissues, changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity. He will also thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth, looking for any sores or discolored tissues. If oral cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Early detection is key and regular dental check-ups can literally save your life. If you haven’t visited us recently, be sure to schedule an appointment today.
For more information on oral cancer screenings, call Dr. Robert Mitchell’s office!