Getting Ahead of Oral Cancer

When it comes to successful cancer treatment, we all understand the importance of early detection. Oral cancers are particularly dangerous because detection and diagnosis usually occurs in the later stages of it's development. Seeing a Dentist, who performs an oral cancer screening along with a dental exam, is critical in detecting lesions earlier which are much easier to treat.

Studies confirm that 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and pharyngeal cancers this year. Less than half of those diagnosed will survive beyond 5 years. Treatment for these cancers include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Patients who survive the cancer, then have to deal with side effects which include compromised health and disfigurement from the surgeries.

I have spoken before about the relationship between good oral health and good overall health. The CDC has confirmed this in their landmark study in 2002. I have attested to the fact that many of my patients who make the effort to maintain good oral health are often healthier overall. Besides early detection, risk factors for oral cancers are associated with poor dental health. I have seen lesions develop under poorly fitting dentures and partials. In addition, missing teeth and the subsequent failure to properly chew food can put a great deal of stress on your body.

If you have been putting off seeing a Dentist now is the time to schedule an appointment. Your Dentist is your best friend when it comes to early detection. Make sure your Dentist takes the time to examine your teeth and soft tissues in your mouth fully and don't be afraid to ask if you have any concerns. If you would like more information The Oral Cancer Foundation, is a great resource.

Dr. Kurt Froehlich is a Dentist practicing in Greene County, Upstate NY. He and his associate Dr. Alan Goldman are active proponents of early detection of oral cancer lesions and offer a no charge screening to all new patients. Coxsackie Dental Arts is a Quality Dental Office which provides a full spectrum of Family Dental Care.