Just ask WebMD consultant and cosmetic dentist Dr. Steven Roth of SmilesNY.com.
“Recently, we had a 42-year old patient come in for a routine cleaning. My hygienist noticed a sore on the side of her tongue, which was barely visible to the naked eye and caused the patient no irritation or pain. Upon further screening and a biopsy, she was subsequently diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma. Fortunately, our early detection saved her life.”
Dr. Roth’s patient was lucky. According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer kills approximately 7,880 people annually in the United States – that equates to nearly one person every hour, everyday. While smoking and tobacco use is still a major risk factor, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is surprisingly young and healthy non-smokers. The connection is to the deadly HPV virus.
A recent study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center furthered this premise that HPV is linked with certain types of oral cancer. 253 patients diagnosed with head and neck cancers were tested. The results indicated that in 25% of the test cases, the tumor tissue was HPV positive. And 90% were linked to the culprit, HPV 16.
Although oral cancer is a serious disease, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 90% of cases can be cured if found in their earliest stages. The problem, however, is lack of awareness and attention.
“Oral cancer is more deadly than cervical cancer and melanoma, yet routine dental check-ups aren’t given the same value as an individual’s annual doctor’s appointment. What people don’t know is that your dentist can be your first line of defense in detecting many life-threatening ailments.”
To celebrate Oral Cancer Awareness month this April, Dr. Roth recommends re-scheduling that likely long overdue appointment with your dentist, limiting your use of tobacco and practicing safe sex.
About the Author:
Steven E. Roth, DMD, has been practicing dentistry in New York City for 19 years. He is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Roth is on the cutting edge of modern dentistry, continuing his education through the NYU Rosenthal Institute for Aesthetic Dentistry, The Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Study in St. Petersburg, Florida, and The Seattle Institute for Advanced Dental Education. He is on staff at the Beth Israel Medical Center, has lectured on Cosmetic Dentistry, TMJ headaches, and Bruxism to advanced dental professionals. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Equilibration Society, and the American Dental Association. Dr. Roth consults for Web MD, and has appeared on Inside Edition, as well as NY1 and other cable television shows, speaking on cosmetic dentistry. He is the inventor of the revolutionary CosmaLite™ process, which enables patients to test-drive porcelain veneers. For more information on Dr. Steven Roth, please visit www.CosmaLite.com.