Oral cancer could happen to you. Here’s how to prevent it.

Health & Fitness

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This story is brought to you by Grand Peaks Medical and Dental, a multi-specialty, nonprofit, Community Health Center in St. Anthony and Rexburg.

In the United States, a person dies from oral cancer ever hour of every day. The statistic is staggering. To add to the figure, roughly 50,000 people are diagnosed with the disease annually in the U.S.

“Historically the death rate associated with oral cancer has been particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but because it is routinely discovered late in the development, said Dr. Kent Beesley with Grand Peak Medical and Dental.

Oral cancer consists of anything in the oral cavity, including the lips, cheeks, tongue, soft palate, tonsils, and throat.

Of newly diagnosed patients, only about 60 percent will live longer than five years. The death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high because it is typically discovered late in its development.

However, the key to dealing with this type of cancer is early detection and awareness.

“Regular dental checkups are important not only for the health of an individual’s teeth, but also as a screening opportunity for these types of cancers,” said Beesley.

Regular dentist visits can detect oral cancer early, and changing a few habits can reduce the risk of even developing the cancer.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a great time to visit your dentist for a screening. Click here for more information.

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