SYRACUSE, N.Y., March 31, 2011 /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, more than 285 Aspen Dental practices in 22 states will donate $5 from every Vizilite Plus screening conducted during Oral Cancer Awareness Screening Week (April 11-15, 2011) to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Vizilite Plus is a specially designed light technology that can help detect oral cancer.
"Unfortunately, oral cancer is often discovered late in its development, which means that the death rate is higher than that of other cancers," 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 doctors and their staff are committed to providing patients with affordable, high-quality care. All Aspen Dental locations are accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which signals a commitment to meeting certain standards of service and making a good faith effort to resolve consumer complaints.
In 2010, Aspen Dental practices recorded nearly 1.9 million patient visits, including visits from more than 422,000 new patients. Patients can learn what to expect during their first visit at www.aspendental.com/appointment.first.visit.html.
For more information about Aspen Dental or to make an appointment, visit www.aspendental.com or call 800-ASPEN DENTAL (800-277-3633). To learn more about careers at Aspen Dental, visit www.aspendentaljobs.com.
SOURCE Aspen Dental