This week is Head, Neck and Oral Cancer Week here in the US, so now is a good time to get a reminder about the dangers of oral cancer.
It is predicted that only half of the 34,000 Americans newly diagnosed with oral cancer annually will be alive in five years time, but the American Dental Association suggests that early diagnosis and treatment could boost that rate to 75 or 80 per cent.
As Dr Christine G Gourin, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, commented: "Oral cancer can be life threatening mostly due to the fact that it's detected too late."
She recommends visiting a dentist regularly and paying close attention to unusual symptoms in the mouth, such as sores that do not heal, a lump in the cheek or lip, white or red patches on the gums, tongue, tonsil or lining of the mouth, or a chronic sore throat.
Dentists will also soon be able to use a new tool called the VELscope which makes oral cancer screenings far more effective, as it allows them to detect suspicious changes deep under the surface, which cannot be felt or seen, CBS3.com recently reported.
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