Oral cancer rates have been on the rise globally, causing over 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. While tobacco use and smoking remain major causes of oral cancers, the HPV virus is becoming another main cause of this type of cancer and HPV is also on the rise both in the U.S. and world wide.
When caught early, through detection during an oral cancer screening such as that offered by Dr. Harper in his Poquoson dental office, oral cancer can frequently be treated successfully and patients will typically have a good long term prognosis. However, without regular screening and awareness of the common symptoms, many patients are diagnosed in the later stages of this disease. When diagnosed after the cancer has spread and metastasized, the survival rate drops dramatically to 50% or below.
Symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- Persistent hoarseness
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Lump in the throat or neck
- Persistent earache- often in both ears
- Numbness in or around the mouth
- Lesion or sore that does not go away
Preventive dental care is important! During these routine dental visits with Dr. Harper patients receive the care they need to support good long term oral health as well as screening for other health issues such as oral cancer. In addition, studies have consistently shown the important role that oral health plays in overall health and well being: poor oral health can also increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Schedule your routine dental visit as part of a healthy lifestyle- and get screened!