April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Read on for important facts about this devastating disease.
Did you know?
- Nearly 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year.
- It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day.
- Of those 40,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years (approximately 57%).
- The mortality rate for oral cancer has not significantly improved in decades.
- The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, testicular cancer, and skin cancer.
- Worldwide, oral cancer rates are even higher, with over 640,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
- Historically, the death rate associated with oral cancer is particularly high not because it is difficult to diagnose, but because the cancer is routinely discovered late in its development, when it has already metastasized to other areas of the body, often the lymph nodes.
- Previously, oral cancer was found most commonly in those over the age of 40, but it is now occurring more frequently in younger people.
- Common causes of young people developing oral cancer are the HPV virus (an STD), and smokeless (chewing) tobacco.
- Tobacco use in all its forms is the number one risk factor in individuals over 50. Historically at least 75% of those diagnosed at 50 and older have been tobacco users.
- When tobacco use is combined with the heavy use of alcohol, the risk of developing oral cancer significantly increases, as the two act synergistically. Those who both smoke and drink have a 15 times greater risk of developing oral cancer than others.
In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Kotre is offering a free Trimira oral cancer screening to all patients and their families. This important screening is usually $80 and is not generally covered by insurance.
The Trimira screening is done via a small, hand-held device that shines a non-invasive, high-energy light on the soft tissues of the mouth to help detect abnormalities. The screening also includes a comprehensive visual examination.
To schedule an appointment for your exam, please give our Ann Arbor dental practice a call at 734-677-2156.