With 5-year survival rates at only 50%, it’s extra important to know how to detect oral cancer early for the best chance of successful treatment. Here’s why you should get a screening at your dentist’s office today:
- Oral cancer is on the rise among young people. Typically, oral cancer is thought to only affect older smokers and drinkers. However, more and more young women and men are being diagnosed. It is thought that this is linked to the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can lead to oral cancer. If you are between ages 25-50, you could be at risk.
- Screenings are quick and painless. An oral cancer examination takes less than 5 minutes and consists of a simple visual check of your mouth, lips and face for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. If symptoms are discovered, further diagnostic tests will be done. Make sure to get screened at least once a year—it can be done easily during your annual dental check up and cleaning.
- Prevention and early detection is key. Lifestyle choices are still the top cause of oral cancer. Smoking, using chewing tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged sun exposure, and contracting HPV can all increase your risk. The good news is that when detected and treated early, the oral cancer survival rate increases to about 80%.