The Oral Cancer Foundation has designated April as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. This is a reminder for men and women in the United States to screen for this little-known disease.
Is oral cancer treatable?
Oral cancer has a high treatment success rate when found early.
The number of Americans who get oral cancer each year is quite low—only about 54,000 people. If discovered and treated early, the cure rate for oral cancer is nearly 90%. However, if the cancer is found after it has spread, the survival rate is 60% after five years of treatment. This makes the death rate for oral cancer is higher than other, more commonly known, cancers.
What is most concerning is that one specific type of oral cancer called oropharyngeal cancer is thought to be caused by HPV. And in the United States, 42% of adults have HPV, making this type of cancer a high-risk for almost half the US population.
How to screen for oral cancer
The good news is that screening for oral cancer is as easy as booking a regular dental check-up. Your dentist will exam your entire mouth for any signs of oral cancers, oropharyngeal cancers or pre-cancers during your yearly exam.
In checking for oral cancer, your dentist will examine your lips and mouth to look for abnormalities such as:
- Persistent red or white patches
- Nonhealing ulcer
- Progressive swelling or enlargement
- Irritations or surface changes
- Teeth that move for no apparent reason
- Unusual oral bleeding
- Prolonged hoarseness
Sometimes early oral cancers can be hard to see. At Dr. Frahm’s practice, your oral health is in good hands. She uses the latest technology called a Diagnodent to find trouble spots that are invisible to the naked eye. The Diagnodent is a pen-type laser tool that is effective at finding even the smallest lesions, cancers and pre-cancers. It works by providing a digital readout to notify us of any problem areas, so we don’t miss anything.
As a practitioner of holistic dentistry, Dr. Frahm always treats the body as a whole, with a focus on how dental conditions impact every aspect of health. Because we start every visit with a conversation about your physical and oral health, we are already attuned to your overall well-being. If Dr. Frahm happens to find something that looks suspect during your oral cancer exam, together, we’ll sit down to discuss the best treatment solutions for your lifestyle, body and mouth.
We are your partners in oral health care. This April, during Oral Cancer Awareness Month, if you are overdue for your dental check-up, we encourage you to book an appointment with Dr. Frahm. Contact us today at 831-372-8011. Our office is conveniently located at 660 Camino Aguajito #201 in Monterey, CA 93940.