Coastal Cosmetic Family Dentistry®’s own Dr. Tony Michelakis wrote an article on oral cancer that we’d like to share with our community. Unfortunately, this form of cancer is on the rise. The doctors of CCFD conduct oral cancer screenings at every hygiene appointment. We’re able to detect abnormalities at earlier stages with the assistance of a fluorescent light which helps us increase the chance of remission.
One in three people will develop cancer during their lifetime. Survival rates have increased for almost ALL cancers, except for oral cancer. The number of oral cancers has increased over the last six years while other cancers have declined.
The risk factors for oral cancer include: previous history of cancer, age, tobacco use (including smokeless) and excessive use of alcohol. However, 60% of oral cancers occur in patients without any use of alcohol, tobacco or any other risks. That being said, young non-smokers are most likely to develop oral cancer.
Why is that? Exposure to Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the new oral cancer risk factor. HPV can be transmitted through saliva, sexual and skin-to-skin contact. HPV is the cause of the fastest growing oral cancer population under the age of 45 and is responsible for an increase of 15 times the rate in oral cancer diagnosis.
Men are two times more likely to develop general oral cancers. HPV-related cancers are six to seven times more common in men than women. 63% of oral cancers are found in Stage III and IV. There is a 56% chance of a five-year survival rate if cancer is found in Stage III and only 34% if found in Stage IV.
Coastal Cosmetic Family Dentistry® includes an oral cancer screening at every hygiene appointment. This two-minute screening is done with an Oral ID™ fluorescent light to identify abnormalities in the mouth, gums or cheeks. Oral cancer screenings used to be done with the naked eye. The photo on the left is what would be seen with just the human eye. With the help of the Oral ID light, if there are any abnormalities, the tissue will appear dark; as seen in the photo on the right.
This new technology allows our team to recognize abnormalities sooner than we would with the naked eye alone. Finding abnormalities BEFORE they progress into cancer is the key to saving lives. The dentists at CCFD screen early and often as part of our conservative patient care. Screening can be done as early as 17 years of age.
The threat of oral cancer is real, but it can be treated and prevented once you shine a little light on the subject. Contact us today for an oral cancer screening so you can have peace of mind. Serving Bolivia, Oak Island, and greater Brunswick County.
#ShineLightSaveLives #CCFDSavesLives #GetScreened