In North America someone dies every hour of everyday from Oral Cancer. Yet, according to the National Cancer Institute only 20% of the US population receive Oral Cancer exams.
The ADA recommends Oral Cancer Screenings be performed annually on every patient over the age of 17.
Although tobacco and alcohol use are still primary causes of Oral Cancer, the last 15 years has seen a 60% increase in Oral Cancer in adults under the age of 40. The primary cause for this increase is the HPV virus. Patients place their trust and their lives in the hands of their Dentist. It is important that dental teams AND patients be educated on the new face of Oral Cancer and the importance of the Oral Cancer Exam.
As dental radiographs are used to detect problems the naked eye cannot see, an oral cancer screening device can detect changes in mucosa well before the naked eye can see the changes. As we know, early detection is the key to Cancer survival. The earliest detection methods available should be used.
With early detection there is a 90% survival rate. The cancer patient who does not receive an early diagnosis has less than a 52% chance of survival.
Early detection devices are more affordable than ever and should not be seen as a luxury. They should be presented and treated as an important part of the exam. Also, just as patients are required to sign when declining radiographs, they should sign a document when declining a cancer screening. It’s that important!
If your practice hasn’t had recent training on advancements in oral cancer Screening technology and the new faces of Oral Cancer, please seek out a course that your entire team can attend or speak with your merchandise sales consultant. He/she can be recommend a course or arrange to have a manufacturers rep come in to your practice to demonstrate new technology and review updated statistics regarding Oral Cancer.
Please remember: IF it’s not documented (exam and findings) your peer review and the State Board will have to assume it didn’t happen. Another reason to have additional training with your team.
Founder, The Dental Business