Oral cancer strikes an estimated 35,000 Americans each year. In 2007, 25% of those diagnosed with the disease, died. In fact, more people die from oral cancers then either melanomas or cervical cancer.
The use of tobacco and excessive alcohol is directly linked to developing oral cancers. However, almost 25% of patients diagnosed with oral cancel did not use either tobacco or alcohol.
Another alarming statistic has been reported by the ADA (American Dental Association). African Americans are particularly at risk for oral cancers. African Americans have an incident rate 1/3rd higher than Caucasians. More frightening, after contracting the disease, African Americans are twice as likely to die from the cancer.
What is the best way to guard against developing oral cancer. Experts agree that getting in the habit of regular dental check-ups is the best defense. Certainly not smoking and using alcohol in moderation are important but just as with other screenings for cancers, early detection is critical.
Oral screenings are a routine part of a regular dental check-up. A dentist can find a flat, painless white or red spot which may be suspicious yet completely unnoticed by the patient. Testing of the suspicious cells can be done quickly and if they turn out to be cancerous or even pre-cancerous, the cells can be surgically removed. Done early enough, this procedure has a very high probability that the patient will not develop oral cancel.
PAP smears, which have been commonly used since 1955 and colonoscopies, which are quickly becoming part of normal preventative screenings, detect early signs of cancer. Both cervical cancer and colon cancer have falling incident and mortality rates because of early detection procedures.
The same type of care should be taken to detect and prevent oral cancer. Do not put your health at risk because of a mistaken belief that seeing a dentist regularly is not that important.
40% of Americans fail to see a dentist regularly. Why? Some think they can not afford to take proper care of their mouth because they do not have dental insurance. True dental insurance, especially for individuals is expensive, but dental plans have become increasing popular. These are very inexpensive, non insurance plans. They offer a fee for service at a discount. The services provided by the participating dentist will be listed in the plan summary and both the regular price and the discount price will be shown. Joining one of these plans is easy and inexpensive and could literally save your life.
Compare all your options and pick a plan that will fit your life style and your pocket book.
Whatever you choose, traditional insurance or dental plan, use the plan regularly. Do not put your life at risk by ignoring the importance of dental check-ups.