April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Unfortunately, cancer has become way too common; but most people are largely unaware of the danger of oral cancer. That is why April has been designated Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

To help you better understand the disease, here are a few facts from a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Nearly 8,000 people die every year from oral or pharyngeal cancer.
  • Roughly 36,500 cases of oral or pharyngeal cancer are diagnosed every year.
  • The survival rate over a five-year period is 50%, but a greater survival rate is evident for cases where the disease is diagnosed in the early stages.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the number of newly diagnosed cases is expected to be around 42,000 for 2013. With early diagnoses being one of the best ways to successfully battle oral cancer, it is very important to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to detect it.

The biggest contributors to oral cancer are cigarettes and chewing tobacco. However, the HPV virus is setting an alarming pace for new cases in healthy, non-smoking young people. Like most types of cancer, it is impossible to accurately predict the root cause for all cases, so it is best to be safe and to maintain a regular regimen of oral care.

Beyond the well-established daily care and regular dental visits, you should also get screened. By participating in a screening during April, you will be able to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe. If your screening returns a positive test result, it is likely to be in an earlier stage in the disease’s development.

By not using tobacco products you are decreasing the chance of oral cancer, but that does not eliminate the odds. As with any type of cancer, prevention and screening are the best ways of detecting problems early to increase the chances of survival.

Dr. Steffany Mohan is the Owner of Plaza Dental Group and is a leading dentist in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Mohan is an expert in implant, pediatric and cosmetic dentistry, is Invisalign certified and has gained a reputation of excellence in the dentistry community. Plaza Dental Group has built a reputation for excellence and its close doctor-patient relationships, which has made them one of the premier offices of Iowa dentists

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