LOMPOC, Calif., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- DenMat, a leading manufacturer of innovative esthetic dentistry and advanced oral health solutions, and the Oral Cancer Foundation are acknowledging National Oral Cancer Awareness Month by teaming up to offer consumers advice on the importance of oral cancer screening and tips to maintain proper dental hygiene for a healthy, beautiful smile.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 42,000 North Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year alone; a number on the rise for the fifth consecutive year. With the death rate growing from not detecting the cancer soon enough, DenMat is encouraging consumers to take action and understand the dangerous, yet preventable risks of this disease. Taking small strides, such as asking a dentist about oral cancer screening services, are important factors of early detection. The majority of today's leading dental professionals have access to assessment tests, such as VELscope, an innovative fluorescence technology for cancer screening, that have proven effective in facilitating the discovery of oral abnormalities before they become visible to the unassisted eye. The VELscope exam is non-invasive, only takes one to 2 minutes, and does not require unpleasant rinses or dyes.
"With thousands of Americans being diagnosed with some form of oral cancer each year, we greatly appreciate DenMat's ongoing commitment to educating consumers on the importance of early detection and proper dental care," said Brian Hill , founder and executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation. "There is no better time than now to lead the fight against oral cancer and we are proud to partner with DenMat to screen as many patients as we can. The more screenings we conduct, the more lives we can save."
To help consumers better understand the importance of early detection, representatives from the Oral Cancer Foundation and DenMat have offered the following professional insight and recommendations:
For early cancer detection, there are many symptoms of which consumers can and should be aware. While an annual screening is imperative, it is also important to look for conditions between screenings, including sores or lesions that don't heal within two weeks, numbness of the tongue or other parts of the mouth, swelling of the jaw or the feeling that something is caught in the throat. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.
If you use tobacco or alcohol, your risk for oral cancer increases. Additionally, if you've been exposed to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), your risk is also elevated, particularly for posterior parts of the mouth including the oropharynx, tonsils, and the base of the tongue. Often times these areas of the mouth do not produce early warning signs, such as visible lesions or discolorations. What's worse, oral cancer can easily prosper without producing pain or symptoms you might readily recognize, thereby making screening tests a must.
The first step to knowing the risk of oral cancer and preventing these abnormalities is to educate yourself and spread awareness. With the number of young non-smokers being diagnosed on the rise, consumers are encouraged to do their part in spreading the word about potential risks. More than 100 individuals are newly diagnosed each day. When found in the early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. Historically the death rate associated with oral cancer is so high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but because the cancer is discovered too late. Consumers have the power to change that by getting tested and encouraging their friends and family to get tested.
"Oral cancer will take approximately 8,000 lives this year; meaning roughly one person per hour every day will die from this disease," commented Steven Semmelmayer , CEO of DenMat. "It is our hope that through a combination of education and early detection we can make oral health screenings a routine procedure and put a stop to this alarming fatality rate."