Oral Cancer Screenings and Why They Are So Important

Oral Cancer Screenings and Why They Are So Important
Posted on 02/27/2017

Oral cancer is on the rise.  There are 49,750 cases diagnosed a year in America right now.  And, unfortunately, the survival rate 5 years after treatment is only marginally better than it was 10 years ago. 

Oral cancer was once mainly found in older males who smoked.  However, over the last 10 years we have found more oral cancers in younger, non-smoking males and females. This is due to the virus HPV, specifically HPV-16.  This virus is a sexually transmitted disease that is more commonly known to cause cervical cancer in women.  It has been discovered that this virus is also causing many of the oral cancers detected over the last decade.  This is one of the reasons why the HPV vaccine was created and is now recommended for boys and girls before adolescence.

Sadly, the death rate for oral cancer is higher than those of cancers we hear about more routinely. One of the major factors is that many of these cancers are discovered late, once they are in a much later stage and have already metastasized.  These oral cancers are often not felt or noticed by the patient until it is in an advanced stage.

At Chestnut Dental we are very dedicated to the prevention and detection of oral cancer.  We perform oral screenings at every 6 month exam and make sure to check all areas of the mouth, tongue, and back of the throat.  We also sponsor and participate in the oral cancer walk with The Oral Cancer Foundation in the Boston area every year.  We hope that by increasing awareness and
performing oral cancer screenings on every patient we can help to improve the prognosis for patients who are diagnosed with this difficult disease.


Dr. Debra Blattman
Adult Dentist, Franklin office