Oral Cancer Awareness: Early Detection is Key – Education is Vital
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and the perfect time to bring the causes and warning signs to the foreground of conversation. It may not be the easiest or most comfortable topic to discuss, but by doing so we can save lives, especially when early detection is a key component in boosting survival rates of Oral Cancer up as high as 80-90%.
Most people might ignore warning signs for Oral Cancer if they do not smoke or drink. Oral Cancer can be caused by excessive sun exposure, which is normally associated with Skin Cancer. However, the leading cause of Oral Cancer is HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus. The most unfortunate truth with this fact is that it can affect young, healthy, non-smoking individuals who are simply not educated on the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. We need to open up the conversation about this form of Cancer and start saving lives.
The best way to begin actively making yourself, and others, aware is to get screened. You can do this by visiting your Dentist and asking for an Oral Cancer Screening, as this is not typically performed in a General Practitioner’s office. Here at Farber Center, we use state of the art technology to aid in early detection by using a device called the VELscope. The VELscope uses UV light to detect irregularities beneath the skin’s surface which are invisible to the naked eye, even with magnification. The UV light most accurately indicates early signs of Oral Cancer, or other conditions that require attention. This brief, non-invasive procedure is recommended to be performed annually and costs less than a tank of gas. We encourage you to perform a self-exam as well in order bring any lumps, bumps, or sores that do not seem to heal to the attention of your Dentist.
To take your first steps towards awareness, check out this video on how to perform a self-exam. Remember that whatever the outcome of the self-exam, it is always recommended to consult with your Dental and/or Dental Hygienist. Check out this video to learn some of the signs you should be looking for, and follow our Facebook page for more updates and news.