Is Your Smile Hiding Something?
Oral cancer is on the rise, and more people like actress Blythe Danner and Oscar winner Michael Douglas are speaking out about this hidden disease to help save lives.
Danner’s husband, television and film director Bruce Paltrow, was celebrating his daughter Gwyneth Paltrow’s birthday when he died from complications of oral cancer. Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer – deadlier than cervical, brain, ovarian, or skin cancer. That’s because it often has no symptoms in the early stages, when it would be easiest to treat.
When Michael Douglas disclosed his late-stage oral cancer diagnosis, new light was shed on this hidden health threat. The fastest growing segment of oral cancer cases are now young non-smokers who have been exposed to HPV, the same virus that causes cervical cancer.
Oral cancer can affect the:
What You Can't See Can Hurt You
About 70% of the time, oral cancer cannot be detected in a conventional dental examination until it reaches a more advanced and potentially disfiguring stage. Surprisingly, oral cancer is one of the most curable cancers if treated early. When detected in the early stages, patients have a nearly 90% survival rate. Health care experts recommend a complete oral soft tissue exam at least once a year. Because early detection is so important, Coast Dental has made a commitment to screen patients for oral cancer using advanced technology.
We supplement a conventional oral examination with Identafi®, the world's first multi-spectral imaging device that can help a dentist detect oral cancer at its earliest and most curable stages.
Identafi uses varying colors of light to detect abnormalities that are not visible in a conventional exam. There is a charge for this quick, painless and non-invasive advanced oral cancer screening exam that is covered by some insurance plans.
Watch an Identafi Exam
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If you or a loved one have any of the following symptoms it's time to see your dentist. These common signs and symptoms could indicate oral cancer:
a sore in the mouth that bleeds easily or doesn't heal
a color change of the oral tissues
a change in the way the teeth fit together
a lump, thickening, crust spot, or a small eroded area
pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
trouble chewing, swallowing or moving the jaw or tongue
But remember, oral cancer doesn't always have symptoms in the early stages. That's why it is so important to get screened annually.
Anyone Can Get It - Even You
Don't think you're at risk? Think again. In the U.S., more than 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Other notables diagnosed with this serious disease include:
Gwyneth Paltrow's father Bruce Paltrow
television producer Aaron Spelling
baseball great Babe Ruth
movie critic Roger Ebert
rock star Eddie Van Halen
Sexually active people between the ages of 25 - 50 are the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population. That is because it has been linked to two strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV 16/18).
Think you can't get it? Watch this touching story.