March 13, 2012

Is Oral Cancer Screening Important?

One American dies every hour from oral cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates a 5.5% increase in new cases of oral cancer and a 1.5% increase in deaths associated with oral cancer. 

If you think you aren’t at risk for oral cancer, think again. Research has shown that 25% of oral cancers occur in people who don’t smoke and have no other lifestyle risk factors. Virtually everyone is at risk for oral cancer, that’s why we recommend a simple, potentially life-saving screening exam annually, called Vizilite Plus.

If you’re sexually active, here’s another reason to think about oral cancer. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection and especially prevalent in young adults.  Few people even know they have it. HPV has long been known to cause cervical cancer and now studies suggest it also plays a role in more than 20% of oral cancer cases.

ViziLite Plus is a simple technology that assists us in the early detection of oral abnormalities including premalignant lesions and oral cancer. Quite simply, early detection can save lives. When oral cancer is found early, treatment is 90% successful. The ViziLite Plus exam improves our ability to identify, evaluate, and monitor abnormal areas that are difficult to see under conventional lighting.

Oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when it’s caught early. That’s why we perform an anual Vizilite Plus exam in combination with a conventional visual examination.

Cancer screening technologies have been saving lives for years. Early detection tools such as mammograms, Pap smear, and PSA tests have greatly reduced death rates for breast, cervical, and prostate cancers. Now dentistry has a screening technology to use in addition to visual/manual screening methods.

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