Dr. Dale and Dr. Platt of Gladstone Family Dental Group are screening their patients for oral cancer. This is one of the most important aspects of routine dental exams at Gladstone Family Dental.
Gladstone, MO -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/29/2013 -- Dr. David Platt states, “We cancer screen everyone at the new patient exam and recall visit.” In this year alone approximately 40,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer. When detected early oral cancer has a very high survival rate; unfortunately most oral cancer is found as late stage cancer without routine exams. Dr. Dale and Dr. Platt utilize the CDx oral cancer screening system to test any suspicious areas. The OralCDx Brush Biopsy (or BrushTest® as it’s marketed in the dental market) is an in-office test to help ensure that the harmless-appearing white or red spots in patients’ mouths are not precancerous or cancerous. During the screening, the dentists look for cancer in common areas, like the sides of the tongue or cheeks.
Oral cancer kills nearly as many Americans every year as malignant melanoma and twice as many as cervical cancers. About half of oral cancer patients survive more than five years, and the poor mortality rate has remained unchanged for 50 years. The five-year survival rate with oral cancer is directly related to the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed, which is why early detection is so important. With early detection, the survival rate for oral cancer is well over 80 percent, compared with late stage detection when the survival rate drops to a dismal 19 percent.
When Dr. Gregory Dale was asked what causes oral cancer, he replied, “Although tobacco and alcohol have long been implicated as traditional risk factors for oral cancer in adults of any age, a significant number of young patients, under the age of 40, with oral cancer have never smoked or consumed alcohol.” In the past 30 years, there has been an alarming five-fold increase in incidence in oral cancer patients under age 40. “It's not an ‘old man's’ disease anymore. The incidence of oral cancer in women is increasing significantly, and females now account for about one third of all oral cancer cases,” said Dr. Platt. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers we hear about routinely, such as cervical, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal, testicular, thyroid, or skin (malignant melanoma). It is growing at double-digit rates, despite declines in alcohol and tobacco use. This increase is due largely to the spread of HPV-16 and HPV-18 via all forms of sex. For that reason, oral cancer is increasingly showing up in the young adult population and the fastest growing group is females in their 40s.
Identifying and treating precancerous lesions before they become cancer has proven to be one of the most effective methods for reducing the incidence and mortality of other types of cancers. The symptoms of oral cancer can include: a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal in two weeks, change in color of the oral tissues; a lump, thickening, mass, rough spot, crust or small eroded area; tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips; teeth or jaw difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue; or a change in the way teeth fit together. Other symptoms may occur that causes swelling of the jaw which results in dentures fitting poorly; voice changes; tiny white or red spots or weight loss.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following tips for reducing your risk for oral cancer.
Stop or limit use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco.
Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.
Protect your lips from excessive exposure to sunlight by using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 12.
Ensure that dentures fit properly and are not irritating the gums or cheeks.
Regular visits to the dentist can increase the chance of early detection, which can improve the potential for successful treatment.