April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that oral cancer kills nearly one person every hour and that, if you are diagnosed with oral cancer, you stand a 40% chance of dying from the disease within five years? April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and if you have not made oral cancer screening part of your routine dental exam, it is time to start. A big problem with oral cancer is that is often detected late, which makes it that much harder to recover from. The mortality rate for oral cancers is higher than many other cancers, which is even more reason to be routinely screened.

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

If you are over fifty years old and indulge too much in alcoholic beverages or are a smoker, you are at increased risk, but it’s not just the over fifty crowd that is in danger. Younger people are also at risk and are being diagnosed more frequently all the time. Young people who contract papillomavirus 16, a sexually transmitted disease, are at increased risk for oral cancer as well.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

It is possible to detect possible oral cancer yourself in between screenings in the dentist office. Symptoms include a thickness of the tissue inside of your mouth or a sore, an irritated area that is persistent and refuses to go away, or numbness anywhere within the oral cavity, particularly of the tongue. Also, if you notice that food becomes difficult to chew or that your teeth do not join together as they did in the past, it is time for a doctor or dentist to take a look.

Oral Cancer Biopsy

If cancer is suspected, your dentist will perform a biopsy to remove all or part of the suspected area for further examination and testing. This is performed in a number of ways including an incisional biopsy, in which a blade cuts out part of the questionable area, a fine needle biopsy, where a needle is inserted into the area to remove cells, or a punch biopsy, where a portion of the area is punched out, similar to a hole punch. There is also a newer oral cancer test called OralCDx, in which a small brush removes cells from an area to test, wherein the area is punched out, similar to a hole punch.

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.