April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

OC Awareness

Early detection is key with oral cancer. When found early, oral cancer patients can have an 80 to 90% survival rate. Unfortunately 40% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will die within five years because the majority of these cases will be discovered as a late stage malignancy.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous, because the patient may not notice it in its early stages. It can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms. As a result, Oral Cancer often goes undetected until it has already metastasized to another location.

Who does oral cancer screenings?

Most oral cancer screenings are done by a Dentist or Hygienist. It is very important at all of your dental appointments you have a screening completed.

When should I have my first oral cancer screening?

More people are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. But surprisingly, research shows this increase is not due to the traditional risk factors of drinking, smoking and using chewing tobacco. Rather oral cancer is now being found in a younger population of men and women because due to their exposure to the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). That is why the Center for Disease Control recommends that all patients over the age of 17 be screened annually for oral cancer.

What types of screenings are there?

A routine “recall” exam usually includes a visual search for lesions and abnormal structures in the oral cavity with palpitations on neck, throat, tongue and cheeks.

The Identafi system uses the Identafi Multi-Spectral Fluorescence and Reflectance technology to enhance visualization of mucosal abnormalities such as oral cancer or premalignant dysplasia that may not be apparent to the naked eye. Unlike other fluorescence technologies and dye systems, the Identafi is Multi-Spectral with three distinct color wavelengths, making it easier to distinguish lesion morphology and vasculature.

Identafi System

The VELscope® Vx system is an adjunctive device which means it must be used together with and as a supplement to the traditional intra and extra oral head and neck exam. Unlike other adjunctive devices used for oral examinations, the VELscope® Vx does not require any dyes or prolonged testing procedures. In fact, a VELscope® Vx exam can be performed during a routine hygiene exam in about two minutes at your dental office.

Dentists, Hygienists, Periodontists, Oral Surgeons, Primary Care Physicians and Otolaryngologists now have the technology to detect morphological and biochemical changes which may lead to oral cancer and potentially save lives, thanks to the Identafi® and VELscope® Vx systems.

Where do I go if there is any concern with my screening?

You will be referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons where they will check for lesions and abnormal tissue structures and perform a biopsy.

Oral Surgeons are not front-line detectors, because their patients are typically referred by dentist and other medical professionals as a primary source for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

OC Happens

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Source:

http://www.identafi.net/tools

http://www.dentalez.com/products/stardental/identafi/

http://www.velscope.com/velscope-technology/overview/

Oral Cancer Monthly Self Exam

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Amanda Orvis RDH

The prevalence of oral cancer is on the rise; in fact one person dies per hour from oral cancer. In the early stages oral cancer can often times go unnoticed. It can be painless and not obvious to the naked eye. The most common areas for oral cancer are the floor of the mouth & sides of the tongue. That being said, oral cancer can be found in various locations as well as a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. It is important that you perform monthly oral self-exams. If you notice any suspicious areas that do not go away within seven to fourteen days make an appointment with your dentist to have them checked. Remember early detection saves lives.

OCF_wristband-2T

How to perform a monthly self-exam:

Supplies: Flash light and a mirror

Steps:

  • Take a moment to look at the skin on your face and neck in the mirror. Look for any changes in the color of your skin, any changes in moles or beauty marks, any swelling, lumps or sores.
  • Use both hands to gently feel along the outside of your cheeks, your lower jaw bone, your jaw joint, in front of and behind both ears. Checking for any areas that do not feel uniform on both sides, any lumps and/or any areas that are swollen or tender.
  • Gently use both hands to feel down the sides of your neck, follow the path along the neck muscles. Gently place your fingertips around your “Adam’s Apple” and swallow. Try to notice if it moves up and down normally or if there is any deviation.
  • Gently use both hands to feel the tissue above and around your clavicles for any swollen or tender areas, or areas that do not feel uniform on both sides.
  • Remove any removable dentures or appliances from your mouth.
  • Use the flashlight to check the roof of your mouth for changes in color or texture. Use your index finger to lightly sweep the roof of your mouth to feel for any lumps or swellings.
  • Pull out your upper lip and then your lower lip looking for any changes in color, size and/or texture. Gently squeeze each lip and cheek with your thumb and index finger feeling for any lumps or tender areas.
  • Using your fingers gently pull your tongue forward and check the back of your throat. Also check all the surfaces of the tongue and the floor of your mouth looking for any changes in color, size and/or texture in the tissue.
  • Lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Using both of your index fingers gently place one index finger on the floor of your mouth and the other index finger under your chin and press your fingers towards each other feeling for any swellings or tenderness along the floor of the mouth.
  • Look at your gums for any change in color and/or texture. Run a finger around all the surfaces of your gums feeling for any swollen or tender areas. \

What to look for specifically:

  • White patches
  • Red patches
  • Sores that fail to heal
  • Lumps, bumps or masses
  • Any areas that are differ from one side to another

 

oral-cancer

 Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

 

Sources:

http://myoms.org/procedures/head-neck-and-oral-cancer

http://fightoralcancer.org/information/images/

http://www.sixstepscreening.org/wp-content/uploads/SixStepScreening.pdf

http://oralcancerfoundation.org/

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