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Jacob O. Layer DMD, PC April 2012 Newsletter
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Dr. Layer and his highly trained team would love to hear from you and answer your questions. Simply click the "submit question" link below this message. Referrals are appreciated.
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Oral Cancer Screening Saves Lives
About 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer (OC) this year. OC will kill over 8,000. That's roughly 1 person every hour, all year long. Of those 40K, only 57% will be alive in 5 years. Frustratingly, this number has not significantly improved in decades! The death rate for OC is higher than that of better-known cancers: cervical, Hodgkin's lymphoma, laryngeal, testicular, thyroid, and skin cancers. If you expand the definition of OC to include cancer of the larynx (risk factors are the same) the number of diagnosed cases grows to approximately 54,000 with 13,500 deaths per year in the US alone. Worldwide, the problem is much greater.

The death rate from OC is high, not because it is hard to diagnose, rather because it is usually discovered late in its development. Another obstacle to early discovery is the proliferation of HPV16 virus. HPV16 tends to cause OC in posterior parts of the mouth (the oropharynx, the tonsils, the base of tongue). Much of the time, small OC lesions in these areas are not readily visible to the patient. The posterior of one's own mouth is just plain hard to see!

OC is often first discovered when it metastasizes to another location, usually the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage is significantly worse than when caught in a localized intra-oral area. At this later stage, the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures. OC is also particularly dangerous because the incidence of secondary tumors is high. Thus patients who survive a first encounter have up to a 20x greater risk of developing a second cancer 5-10 years after the first occurrence.

We recommend annual screening.

- Jake Layer, DMD

Toothy Tid Bits: Oral Cancer Facts
If you couldn't tell already, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer, anywhere in the body, is nasty stuff and we probably all know of someone who is affect by cancer in some form or another. In this month's article I'm just going to list out some key facts about oral cancer and the common signs and symptoms:

• Most oral cancers are Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
• Tobacco, heavy alcohol use, human papilloma virus (HPV), immunosuppressive medications, and poor oral hygiene are all factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer (listed in order of prevalence).
• Men get oral cancer twice as often as women. Particularly men over 40.
• The lips and sides of the tongue are the most common oral cancer sites.
• Oral cancers are most often pale or white in color.

If you or someone you know is curious or concerned about an area in their mouth, feel free to give us a call and come in for a free screening. With all cancers, early detection is extremely important and making sure you have a healthy mouth is our number one goal!

- Jocelyn Codington, RDH

Did You Know?
An oral cancer screening is fast, painless, and this month it's FREE! The process is simple: we look at all parts of the mouth with both visible light and a VelScope. What is a screening, you ask? It's nothing more than looking for that which is abnormal.

A screening doesn't diagnose what the abnormality actually is. That requires a biopsy: removal of a small portion of the suspicious area. The biopsy sample is then examined by a pathologist under a microscope to determine what is happening at the cellular level. Cancerous or pre-cancerous cells look very different from normal cells. Depending on the appearance, the pathologist can tell us what the abnormality actually is and if we should be worried about it.

As a dentist, I know what normal looks like. More importantly, I know what abnormal looks like. Together, we can determine if that suspicious area is normal or not and get a biopsy if needed. Then you'll know!
Dr. Layer and his highly trained team would love to hear from you and answer your questions. Simply click the "submit question" link below this message. Referrals are appreciated.

Jacob O. Layer DMD, PC | www.layerdental.com | 541-734-0970
1485 East McAndrews Rd., Medford, OR 97504



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