The month of April was Oral Cancer Awareness month. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, in 2017, nearly 50,000 Americans were diagnosed with oral cancer, with more than 9,750 deaths as a result. That’s roughly one death per hour.
Dentists are on the front line of this battle. An online study was conducted by Vigilant Biosciences which polled over 500 U.S. adults, ages 18-75, on their knowledge and perceptions of oral cancer and oral cancer screening. The study showed that 81% of U.S. adults want to be screened for oral cancer during routine dental check-ups, but only 29% actually are. The survey also revealed how little U.S. adults know about the various risk factors for oral cancer. Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are behaviors associated with the highest risk for developing oral cancer. While the majority of survey respondents recognized tobacco use as a leading risk factor for oral cancer, many were not aware of additional risk factors, such as certain types of the HPV virus, a common sexually transmitted disease.
These DSOs are taking a stand against oral cancer:
Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) offices across the country shared the tips below during their Speak Out Against Oral Cancer campaign this April to help lower the risk of being diagnosed with oral cancer. Participating Great Expressions Dental offices also provided free Advanced Oral ID Cancer Screenings for every patient who visited in April. Continuing its commitment to funding research for a cure, GEDC will make a monetary donation to the Oral Cancer Foundation at the end of April.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly
- Examine your mouth monthly for sores and symptoms
- Eat cancer-fighting foods (e.g., beans, berries, dark leafy vegetables, etc.)
- Avoid tobacco products
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
- Exercise frequently
- Visit your dentist regularly
Pacific Dental Partners’ CEO and Founder, Stephen Thorne, distributed a daily e-newsletter to all PDS team members that each of PDS’ nearly 640 supported offices and department teams read during their morning huddle. For the month of April, several of these newsletters featured real-life VELscope® oral cancer screening success stories and best practices from PDS-supported offices to commemorate Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Mortenson Dental Partners committed to giving free oral cancer screenings during the entire month of April. In addition to the in-office screenings and patient materials regarding the risk factors of oral cancer, they put together an educational blog for patients, community partners, social media posts and anyone researching oral cancer online. Mortenson Dental Partners wants to make sure they are positively contributing to the conversation about oral cancer to help communities recognize signs and symptoms and to remind them that a visit to the dentist could save their life.