Did you know almost 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer each year? In fact, oral cancers account for 85 percent of head and neck cancer diagnoses. Early stage oral cancers can flourish without causing any symptoms or pain, making them especially dangerous. Because they’re so often identified when it’s too late, oral cancers only have a 50 percent survival rate.
People who smoke, use smokeless tobacco, or drink alcohol aren’t the only ones at higher risk for developing oral cancer. According to recent studies, teenagers and adults in their twenties are developing oral cancers by contracting Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Once you’re diagnosed, you’re at 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer.
The good news is that there’s an easy way to identify oral cancer early — visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. These appointments include checks for cancer and precancer in the early growth stages. In fact, dentists and hygienists are the people who identify oral cancers most often. Making regular visits to the dentist could save your life or the life of someone you love. An added bonus — you’ll you have a healthy smile and a chance to spot potential problems before they become a drain on your wallet.
Need assistance finding a dentist? We’ve made it easy for you. Click here to find a dentist in your network that can provide you with the dental services you need.