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April is Oral Cancer Awareness month. Why is this important to know? According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 115 new individuals each day in the US alone”. Your dentist and hygienist are the first line of defense in early detection of the disease.

More specifically your hygienist plays a vital role in early detection. At Dr. Sheldon Sullivan’s Gilbert dental office we perform an oral cancer screening on every hygiene patient. The hygienists in our Mesa/Gilbert dental office see an average of 6-8 patients a day at least 2 times a year, which puts them in a position to be on the front line for early discovery for more than 1000 patients a year. They spend several minutes with each patient at their appointment examining the soft tissues of the oral cavity and checking the throat and tongue for any signs that may indicate oral cancer. Our hygienists have the skills and knowledge to identify potential signs of oral cancer in patients. We also have the Velscope available in our office to aid in early detection of Oral Cancer.

How many of you see your doctor every year for a pap smear to check for cervical cancer, or get a mammogram to check for breast cancer or a screening for prostate cancer? Regular Oral Cancer screenings are just as important for early detection. If you haven’t seen your hygienist yet, call today to schedule your appointment for your visit and oral cancer screening.