Oral Cancer – It’s Not Just a Smoker’s Thing

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Dentist
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New oral cancer diagnoses will affect close to 37,000 Americans this year alone.  Of those newly diagnosed individuals, only 30% will be alive in 5 years.  Oral cancer will cause over 8,000 deaths this year, killing roughly 1 person/hour/24 hours/day.  This number has not significantly improved in decades.  It has become the sixth leading cancer among men and is one of the few cancers in which the rate of detection is increasing among young adults.  Most people are not aware of the potential risks; however, when detected early enough, the survival rate for oral cancer is 80-90%.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and we at Aristo Dental are taking this seriously.  We have always conducted an annual comprehensive oral cancer screening for all our patients, but Dr’s Giovanni and Sandra Aristodemo have recently incorporated a breakthrough technology that will allow us to see things we’ve been unable to see previously.  By detecting potential problems earlier, we’ll be providing our patients with the best oral health care currently available. 

This new and exciting technology, called VELscope™, utilizes a narrow band of safe, high-energy blue light and specialized filtering technology to help thoroughly evaluate the oral tissue for abnormal areas of concern, such as potentially cancerous lesions that may not be evident under white light.

A few facts:

  • Historically the majority of people are over the age of 40 at the time of discovery, but now it is occurring more frequently in those under this age.
  • “Smokeless” chewing tobacco, although promoted to be safer in regards to lung cancer, it has a negative effect on the rates of oral and pancreatic cancer and periodontal disease.
  • In people under the age of 50, HPV16 may be replacing tobacco as the primary causative agent in oral cancer.
  • The ratio is 2:1 for men to women who tend to be affected.
  • It occurs twice as often in the black population as in whites .
  • Those individuals that smoke and drink have a 15 times greater risk of developing oral cancer

Be sure and give this new technology a try.  Your life could depend on it.

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