SYRACUSE, N.Y., April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S., is reminding patients about the importance of oral cancer screening and early detection in recognition of Oral Cancer Awareness Month (April).
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, which is responsible for approximately 8,000 deaths annually. Common risk factors for oral cancer include use of tobacco products (smoked and smokeless), excessive alcohol consumption, and HPV infection.
As a commitment to oral cancer detection, 340 Aspen Dental practices in 22 states will donate $5 from every Vizilite Plus screening conducted during the month of April to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Vizilite Plus is a specially designed light technology that can help detect oral cancer.
"When found early, the survival rate for oral cancers is around 80 percent, but all too often, it's often discovered too late," said Maureen Howes, RDH, MS, director of hygiene services at Aspen Dental Management, Inc. "It's important to identify any abnormalities as early as possible, when the cancer is most treatable, which means that regular dental care and oral cancer screenings are critically important."
Possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal within two weeks; a lump or thickening in the cheek; a white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil or lining of the mouth; a sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat; difficulty chewing or swallowing; difficulty moving the jaw or tongue; or numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth. Denture patients may experience swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
To learn more about what to expect during an oral cancer screening, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website at http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/how_do_you_know.html.
About Aspen Dental
One of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S., Aspen Dental practices are committed to providing patients with affordable, high-quality care. With more than 340 locations in 22 states, Aspen Dental practices are nationally accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
In 2011, Aspen Dental practices recorded more than 2.2 million patient visits, including visits from more than 490,000 new patients. Patients can learn what to expect during their first visit at www.aspendental.com/appointment.first.visit.html.
SOURCE Aspen Dental