As your dentist, I continually look for medical advances and treatments to ensure that my team and I are delivering the best possible care we can. Of particular concern to us is oral cancer.
Did you know that oral cancer is the sixth deadliest cancer in the world with roughly 30,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year? As a result, oral cancer claims one life an hour here in the United States – more than the number of lives lost to skin or cervical cancer. Close to three-quarters of these new cases are detected in the later stages of development giving these individuals a five-year survival rate but only 50% generally survive. Unfortunately, the survival rate hasn’t decreased significantly in the past 40 years. However, when detected and treated early, oral cancer can be 90% curable.
Oral cancer is a growing problem among people age 40 and older and, especially among smokers, smokeless tobacco users and, drinkers. However, according to the American Dental Association, more than 25% of those who are diagnosed with oral cancer, including those under the age of 30, have no lifestyle risk factors do not fall into these categories.
To help in the fight against oral cancer, we recently evaluated a new technology called ViziLite and found that using it together with our conventional head and neck examination improves our ability to identify, evaluate and monitor suspicious areas at their earliest stages. This is important because abnormal cells in the mouth can progress to a pre-cancerous state with little warning, but early detection can minimize or eliminate the potentially disfiguring effects of oral cancer and possibly even save your life.
ViziLite is a painless, non-invasive test that can be compared to similar screening tools used for other cancers, such as the mammogram for breast cancer, the PSA test for prostate cancer and a Pap smear for cervical cancer.
We have incorporated ViziLite into the standard of care in our practice to ensure that you receive a thorough and complete exam. It is recommended that ViziLite be offered to all adults on an annual basis; however individuals of any age who use tobacco products also should be checked annually.
Please call us today so we can schedule your next exam, including an Oral Cancer screening. We look forward to seeing you and working together to help you maintain a bright and healthy smile for a lifetime.