Aspen Dental reminds patients about importance of early detection during Oral Cancer Awareness Month

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013, the seventh consecutive year where there has been an increase in the rate of oral cancer occurrence. So Aspen Dental is reminding patients about the importance of early detection and encouraging screenings in recognition of Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Vizilite Oral Cancer Screening Aspen Dental

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013, the seventh consecutive year where there has been an increase in the rate of oral cancer occurrence. So Aspen Dental is reminding patients about the importance of early detection and encouraging screenings in recognition of Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

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As a commitment to early detection of oral cancer, Aspen Dental will donate $5 to the Oral Cancer Foundation for every ViziLite® oral cancer screening conducted at Aspen Dental locations during the month of April. ViziLite® Plus is a specially designed light technology that can help detect oral cancer.

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"The oral cancer survival rate is significantly increased when found early, but many patients are not familiar with all the signs of oral cancer," said Maureen Howes, RDH, MS, director of hygiene services at Aspen Dental Management, Inc. "It's important to identify any possible signs or irregularities as early as possible, when the cancer is most treatable, and one of the best ways to do that is through regular dental care and oral cancer screenings."

Dr. Amrita Reddy, an Aspen Dental practice owner in Manchester, Nashua, Nashua-Webster Square, and Bedford, N.H., says,“Visiting the dentist twice a year for your regular checkup is more important than ever. Beyond checking for routine dental issues, screening for oral cancer is now an important part of your checkup. The rate of oral cancer continues to increase — in fact, the statistics are startling:

  • "Approximately 42,000 people in the Unted States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013, which is the seventh year where there has been an increase in occurrences.
  • Oral cancer will cause more than 8,000 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day.
  • Of those 42,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half (approximately 57%) will survive in five years. This is a number that has not significantly improved in decades.
  • The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely, such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid or skin cancer (malignant melanoma)."

Vizilite Oral Cancer Screening Aspen DentalAccording to Dr. Reddy, "Most oral cancer can be caught early and when detected early, survival rates are high. Oral cancer screenings are painless, quick, and inexpensive. The first part of an oral cancer screen is a visual examination of the mouth and tongue. I examine the inside of the mouth, lips, and tongue. I typically wrap the tongue in gauze so that I can get a good look at the insides of the cheeks, the roof, and bottom of the mouth and gums. I also feel the neck for any enlarged lymph nodes.

"I also recommend a more advanced screening tool. At Aspen Dental, we offer patients a screening called Vizilite Plus®, which uses a light technology that can help detect precancerous cells that may be difficult to see during a regular visual exam. Many insurance plans will cover the cost of advanced screenings. Through regular checkups that include oral cancer screenings, we can detect oral cancer early and improve outcomes.”

Throughout the month, Aspen Dental will be sharing information about oral cancer on its Facebook page. Common risk factors for oral cancer include use of tobacco products (smoked and smokeless), excessive alcohol consumption, and HPV infection.

Possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal within two weeks; a lump or thickening in the cheek; a white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth; a sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat; difficulty chewing or swallowing; difficulty moving the jaw or tongue; or numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth. Denture patients may experience swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.

To find locations offering free oral cancer screening in your area, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website.

To learn more about what to expect during an oral cancer screening, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website.

To learn more about Aspen Dental, visit their website.

SOURCE: PRNewswire

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