The ugly truth is approximately every hour someone dies from oral cancer.
This year over 42,000 will be diagnosed with oral cancel. Sadly 57% will not survive.
These grim statistics are from the Oral Cancer Foundation. A non-profit foundation dedicated to building and raising awareness of the disease and to its early detection.
“Oral Cancer holds an underserved high ranking as a killer,” said Oral Cancer Foundation Executive Director Brian Hill in an agency white paper. “More than cervical cancer, melanoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and others you hear so much more about. It takes the life of someone every hour, of every day, of every month, of every year.”
The problem, Hill comments, is not to the disease being hard to discover or diagnose. It’s that it is often discovered too late for effective treatment.
That is tragic because oral cancer is easily screened adds Dr. Kasi Franck, family dentist in Rocklin, California. Self screening is so simple everyone should do it regularly.
“A self-exam for oral cancer is easy and quick,” she said. “When flossing and brushing, take a few minutes to examine the inside of your mouth at your tongue, gums, and the sides of your cheeks.”
What you are looking for are red or white spots, or sores spots anywhere inside your month said Dr. Franck.
“These are areas that should cause concern and be brought to the attention of your family dentist if they do not go away within about 14 days,” she continued, adding other symptoms to watch out for are sores that do not heal and or bleed easily, areas of pain, numbness or tenderness, and color changes in any tissue in your mouth.
There are many every day, benign tissue changes that occur normally in your mouth. Something as simple as a bite on the inside of your cheek can easily mimic the look of dangerous tissue change.
Oral cancer can be fatal, the key is it’s better to be safe than worry. So in addition to doing regular self-exams, Dr. Franck strongly urges everyone to see their family dentist at least once a year for a professional oral cancer screening.
“That is the best way to be sure you do not become a victim of oral cancer,” she said. “It is not a pretty way to die.”
For more information about oral cancer prevention and treatment, visit oraclcancerfoundation.org or contact Dr. Franck at www.franckfamilydental.com