If you have read our blogs before, you know that this is not the first time we have written about oral cancer. Despite this fact, it is something that we feel compelled to write about again for the simple reason that screening for oral cancer can be a life-saving experience.

It is not just dental offices like ours that advocate oral cancer screening. Some very famous voices have also taken up the call for obvious, personal reasons.

Most of you are probably familiar with Michael Douglas and the fact that he recently fought a battle with cancer. What you may not be aware of is that his cancer was oral cancer. If you want to see what he has to say about the disease, we recommend that you check it out at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_3S_93_jGE

Oral cancer has also affected the lives of other famous names. Actress Blythe Danner lost her husband, director Bruce Paltrow to oral cancer a couple of years ago. You might recognize his name and realize he was the father of Gwyneth Paltrow. Her compelling story can be heard at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=flljvwmgemI

Actor Jack Klugman, once known as Quincy and Oscar from the Odd Couple, also battled oral cancer. In his case, it cost him his voice for a number of years. It took a great deal of work on his part to learn to speak again. You can listen to what he has to say at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-N0fC3FFiY

It is quite concerning to be confronted with the facts as these famous names present them. For instance, 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer annually and half of them will not survive 5 years. That is an incredibly high mortality rate. But when you listened to how Bruce Paltrow was not concerned about constant hoarseness he was experiencing until it was too late, you can understand why this might be the case.

Still, the most disturbing aspect of these videos is the fact that it is not just smokers who need to be concerned. While smokers are certainly at a higher risk for oral cancer, it is astonishing to consider that young, non-smokers are experiencing the fastest rate of increase in cases of oral cancer.

Exactly why this is the case is not clear at this time. It is interesting to consider the link between oral cancer and cervical cancer which Michael Douglas refers to. Perhaps some answers will lie in further research on this point.

The good news is that, with the early detection that may be provided to you through screening at your dental office, an oral cancer diagnosis does not have to have a tragic conclusion. At Rideau Dental Centre, we have been fortunate enough to have provided some of our patients with just such an early diagnosis.

If you have not visited a dental office recently, you may be overdue for an oral cancer screening. Call us to schedule a new patient exam, including oral cancer screening, today. Because early detection of oral cancer is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon