By Susan Braden
Though they may not sound as severe as other diseases, these cancers may be fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 35,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with this disease this year. Men are twice as likely to develop this disease as women are, particularly men over 40. The good news is that this disease is relatively easy to treat if detected early on. Here is the information you need to know to effectively recognize and prevent this disease.
This cancer is a disease of the mouth – its symptoms include a lesion or sore on the tongue, lip or mouth area. The lesion is usually pale in color, but also may appear dark and discolored. The lesion is often painless at first and very small, however, some patients experience an abnormal taste in their mouth, difficulty swallowing, and/or additional sores in the mouth due to this disease.
The primary reason to spread oral cancer awareness is that this disease spreads very rapidly. These cancers may have an 80-90% survival rate when detected early, but unfortunately, the cancer is most often discovered in its latest stage, this late detection corresponding with a 45% death rate within 5 years of diagnosis.
This high death rate, however, is the result of public unawareness and missed opportunities for screening at an affordable dental clinic, not because this cancer is difficult to discover. Many patients may be limited in opportunity to receive these screenings due to lack of affordable dental coverage. Once a year, as part of your dental checkup, dentists should examine the soft tissue of your mouth – the most effective examination to detect any signs of the disease early on. Be sure to attend your dentist appointments regularly with your insurance or dental discount plan to receive the both the affordable dental care you need and this valuable cancer examination.
Understandably, oral cancer's known death rate may create fear and anxiety. However, it is important to remember that this disease is fairly easy to prevent. The primary cause of oral cancer is tobacco and heavy alcohol use – in fact, 70-80% of these cancers are tied to tobacco use, and, as with all cancers, can be expensive to treat. Exercising restraint in your alcohol and tobacco use today could pay off in the more affordable dental benefits of a cancer-free mouth.
Another cause of these cancers is poor dental hygiene. Simple preventative care of your teeth and mouth and having routine dental checkups for an oral examination with an affordable dental plan or insurance can aid tremendously in the prevention of oral cancer.
Other helpful prevention tips include the receiving of care for any dental problems in a timely manner, and the practice of proper dental hygiene. Be sure to visit a dentist or doctor who accepts your dental plan if a sore or lesion appears in your mouth and does not go away within a month, to receive affordable dental treatment of your sore.
Oral cancer is an unfamiliar disease to many people, yet can be deadly if left unnoticed or untreated. Fortunately, this cancer has an incredibly high survival rate if detected early. Exercising proactivity in dental hygiene and maintenance is not only the most wise and affordable dental treatment of this disease, but also promotes general health and well-being.
For more affordable dental tips from Susan Braden, check out this article.