April was Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Pi Dental Center began a campaign to bring attention to Oral Cancer and to increase early cancer screenings. This campaign is called, “5 Minutes is all it Takes,” and will continue throughout the month of May.
Oral Cancer can occur in any part of the mouth; including the surface of the tongue, inside the cheek, in the lips, gums, roof and floor of the mouth, tonsils and the salivary glands.
- In 2016 nearly 48,250 people will be diagnosed with Oral or Pharyngeal Cancer in the US.
- Oral Cancer will cause more than 9,575 deaths.
- Fifty-seven percent of those diagnosed will survive less than five years.
- Survival rates have only improved slightly in the past 10 years.
- The rate of Oral Cancer is higher and has a higher death rate than cervical cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Laryngeal Cancer, Cancer of the Testes, and Endocrine System Cancers.
- Cancer of the Larynx causes 3,925 deaths per year in the US.
- Mouth Cancer can affect people of all ages
Men have 50 percent higher risk of developing Oral Cancer as women and this risk increases for men over the age of 50, according to the American Cancer Society. A definitive link exists between the use of tobacco products and the development of Oral Cancer. One study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, found that more than eight out of ten Oral Cancer patients were smokers. Besides smoking, risk factors for the development of Oral Cancer include the use of smokeless tobacco, such as dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products. People who use smokeless tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips. Excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of Oral Cancer. Other factors include a family history of cancer, excessive exposure to the sun and human papillomavirus (HPV). Over 25 percent of Oral Cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.
Registered Dental Hygienist at Pi Dental Center, Julia Solomon, has been working at Pi Dental Center for over 20 years. She says, “Don’t smoke and get an annual cancer screening by a dentist.”
Symptoms of Mouth Cancer can include; red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue, mouth ulcers and swelling, lump and thickening of the lining of the mouth, pain when swallowing, jaw pain and stiffness, sore throat, neck pain, painful tongue and a hoarse voice. If you experience unusual and unexplained symptoms, please call us at 215-646-6334 as soon as possible to schedule an evaluation.
In some cases, Oral Cancer shows no symptoms. This is why having regular Oral Cancer screenings is so important. Dr. Glenn Wolfinger states, “One of the important things to understand is that all patients, even denture patients, can get Oral Cancer. Although patients may not have natural teeth, and may not have scheduled oral hygiene cleaning visits, denture patients should come in yearly for an Oral Cancer screening and examination.”
Early detection is the key to survival! Dr. Wolfinger asserts, “A lot of lesions can be detected early. Prognosis is much better with early detection.” When detected early, successful treatment rates range from 80 to 90 percent. This number drops significantly when Oral Cancer is discovered later.
Oral Cancer screening is an important part of every new patient diagnostic evaluation and every oral hygiene maintenance appointment performed at Pi Dental Center. This routine procedure saves lives!
Pi Dental Center is committed to improving the chances of survival for people with Oral Cancer. For each patient who schedules oral hygiene with cancer screening, through this campaign, Pi Dental Center will donate to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Please call us if you have questions or concerns and to schedule your Oral Cancer screening appointment.
Read more about the link between Oral Cancer and Tobacco, smoking and Oral Cancer, Dental Examination and Oral Cancer Screening: