April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that nearly 10,000 Americans die from oral cancer every year? The disease also has only about a 57% survival rate over 5 years. Why is oral cancer so deadly? It is quite treatable and not difficult to diagnose. The problem is that it often goes undiscovered for too long. Regular oral cancer screenings can save your life.
Oral cancer often goes undetected so long because it can develop without causing a person to experience any symptoms. In fact, it is often only discovered after it has metastasized to another part of the body, like the lymph nodes. At this point, prognosis is much worse. When symptoms do appear, they are sometimes minor and are written off as persistent canker sores or sore throat. Other symptoms include crusty or rough areas in the mouth, thick lumps or spots, and unexplained bleeding or pain.
Fortunately, screening can identify early signs of cancer. If caught early, oral cancer is often very treatable. At Distinctive Dental Care, we provide an oral cancer screening with every checkup and cleaning. This involves a careful examination of your head, neck, face, and oral cavity. Abnormalities may not necessarily be indications of cancer, but a screening can catch early signs before they start to spread.
To learn more about oral cancer, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website at www.oralcancer.org. You can also call our Prescott, AZ, office at (928) 445-3181 with questions about any aspect of your oral health and to schedule an appointment.