The best tool that anyone can have in the battle against cancer is early detection. Oral cancer is no different. An unfortunate misnomer is that only smokers can get oral cancer, but 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are actually non-smokers.
The American Dental Association has recently started a campaign to push for more oral cancer screenings by dentists. The ADA averages that 60% of United States citizens see a dentist every year. If opportunistic screenings were conducted on just those that already went to the dentist, there would be tens of thousands of opportunities to catch oral cancer when it is still in its early stages.
The ADA is also pushing for even more people to get screened, even if they do not already regularly visit the dentist. When analyzing the data for PAP smears, mammograms, and prostate exams, it is clear to see a correlation between early detection and saving lives. With the dental community assuming the same leadership role as these other medical fields, oral cancer statistics can improve.
Visiting a dentist has become much more than just getting a checkup, filling a cavity and getting a filling. Dentists can help their patients in life and death matters. The old mentality of waiting till an issue in the mouth gets worse before getting it checked is something of the past. When oral cancer is caught early, there is an 80% – 90% survival rate. A screening is simple and pain-free, and is often done as part of a biannual checkup and cleaning at our Morristown, NJ office.
Dentistry is a proven way to help enhance people’s lives, and it’s a privilege for me to positively affect the health of so many families in my community. Modern dental care provides a wealth of benefits, and it is my goal to give my patients the oral health & beautiful smiles they deserve.