April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Cancer of the mouth kills thousands every year, and it leaves thousands more with a lifetime of hideous facial deformity as a result of surgical treatment.
You don’t have to be a smoker or ‘chew’ tobacco to develop oral cancer. Anyone can get it. Oral cancer kills more people each year than either skin cancer (malignant melanoma) or cervical cancer. Of the 20 most common cancers, oral and laryngeal cancers are the only two that have not had a significant improvement in survival rate over the last 20 years. And oral cancer has not had improvement in the death rate in the last 40 years! The average five-year survival rate for oral cancer is still only about 50%.
Oral cancer usually starts out as a red, or more often, a white patch somewhere in the mouth. Although a large number of people have similar appearing white or red abnormalities in their mouth, the vast majority of these lesions are benign. However, up to 6% of these innocuous, harmless looking lesions have been found to be pre-cancerous or even cancerous.
In the past, because millions of people have had innocuous looking lesions in their mouths, it has not been practical to perform a surgical biopsy on most of them. As a result, many pre-cancerous or early stage cancers remained undetected. Deforming surgeries could have been prevented by early detection!
But things have recently changed for the better. Dentists now have the ability to easily test each and every one of these lesions just to be sure they are harmless.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, regular dental exams / checkups in our office include oral cancer screening.
For more information, contact Dr. Ushma Patel at 770-623-8750 or visit www.HiTechSmiles.com.