Here at FocusedCareDental.com, we take a comprehensive approach to oral health. We care about family dental care, and we care about delivering the best that cosmetic dentistry has to offer.
“What sets Dr. Allan Melnick apart,” you ask?
Well, as a proud University of Southern California graduate and former UCLA professor, I’d have to say that my ongoing attention to the latest research findings is the differentiating factor. I am PASSIONATE about research – not just because it is fascinating, but because it allows me – and my stellar staff – to deliver the very best to our patients.
Part of that “VIP dental care” that we tout includes educating our patients…and, not just about toothbrushes and dental floss. We talk about the tough stuff – like the link between oral cancer and a sexually transmitted virus. The human papillomavirus now is considered the “fastest growing risk factor for oral cancer.”
Oral cancer kills about one person every hour, 24 hours a day. Its death rate is higher than that of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cervical and testicular cancers, and thyroid and skin cancers. Startling, isn’t it? About 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, says the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), costing the U.S. $3.2 billion a year. Only about half of these oral cancer patients will be alive in 2017!
These statistics are both scary and sad. They’re sad because the prognosis and treatment don’t have to be so dire.
Typically oral cancer is not that hard for a medical professional to diagnose intra-orally, but historically it’s been a cancer that gets discovered late – usually after it has metastasized in the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. By then, it’s much harder to take care of, and treatment is usually both disfiguring and debilitating.
The majority of Americans are ignorant about the risk factors for oral cancer. In fact, fewer than 30 percent of men and women know that the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease, is among the causative factors for oral cancer, according to an OCF national survey conducted recently. Many people think, “Oh, I don’t use tobacco, so I am in the clear. Or, I don’t drink alcohol, so I’m OK.” That’s just not true. Oral cancer can result from a physical relationship with the wrong person. HPV variants also cause genital warts and other cancers of the reproductive organs.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
- Smoking tobacco
- Using “snuff,” or chewing tobacco
- Being sexually active
- Drinking alcohol
At our Encino dental office, we include a visual and digital oral cancer screening as part of our comprehensive dental exam. We added this service to save lives and to prevent a lifetime of disfigurement for survivors. Unless caught early, oral cancer treatment may require drastic surgical intervention, radiation and some very strong medicines. We hope to help our patients skip that kind of drama. Delivering peace of mind is so much nicer.
To schedule a dental consultation, please call the office of Dr. Allen Melnick, DDS, at (818) 385-3681.
Best regards, Dr. Melnick
Tip of the Day: Oral cancer isn’t painful in its earliest stages and often isn’t visually or physically apparent until it’s quite advanced. Oral cancer screenings should be part of routine dental checkups every year. Exams are quick, painless and non-invasive. Other precautions include sexual abstinence, vaccinations with Gardasil, use of condoms, and limiting alcohol and tobacco use.