Early Detection Saves Lives

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By: Dr. Richard Staller Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Advanced Dentistry South Florida will be offering free oral cancer screenings on April 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment only.

Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 43,250 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the U.S. It kills one person every hour of every day, and over 115 new individuals will be diagnosed with it each day. The good news is that it can often be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening.

“A simple and painless screening can save lives,” said Dr. Heather Kohn, Dentist at Advanced Dentistry South Florida. “If your physician isn’t checking for irregularities in the tissues of the mouth, make sure you get screened at least once a year by your dentist. I have seen firsthand the results of early detection and it is a life saver!”

Who should get screened?

Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects are from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make them part of your annual health check-ups.

Does Oral Cancer hurt?

Similar to gum disease, oral cancer does not hurt. You may notice a strange spot on your tongue or somewhere in your mouth, but it does not hurt.

Does the screening hurt?

The oral cancer screening doesn’t hurt either! At Advanced Dentistry South Florida, an advanced light is used to detect irregularities in the cell pattern which may indicate pre-cancerous cells. It is painless and takes about five minutes.

What are the risk factors?

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. The leading cause of oral cancers in the U.S. is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16). This virus is also responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. The use of tobacco and alcohol, which has been a long-term historic problem, remains a major risk factor. The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to the HPV virus.

Early indicators:

Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.

Any sore which does not heal within 14 days.

Hoarseness which lasts for more than six weeks.

Advanced indicators:

A sensation that something is stuck in you throat.

Numbness in the oral region.

Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.

Difficulty in swallowing.

Ear pain which occurs on one side only.

A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.

A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck.

An oral cancer screening should be conducted every year, so take advantage of this free offer and get screened today.  Call 561-495-2099 to make an appointment for your complimentary screening.

For more information about oral cancer, please contact Advanced Dentistry South Florida at www.ad-sf.com or call 561-495-2099.