Women’s Health Month, May 2012: Raising Awareness of Alarming Rise of Oral Cancer in Women

ENT and Allergy Associates launches patient awareness initiative
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ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP (ENTA), the largest ear, nose, throat, allergy and audiology practice in the tri-state area, announces its initiative to provide education related to the rising prevalence of oral cancer in young, non-smoking women. During Women’s Health Month this May, physicians will encourage women to perform oral self exams, a simple step that can lead to a longer, healthier life.

Nearly every oral cancer starts as a very small white or red spot -- typically the size of a sesame seed. The majority of these spots in the mouth are caused by everyday trauma, such as cheek-biting, a sharp tooth or a pizza burn. Women may, therefore, be unaware that some of these spots may in fact contain precancerous cells, known as dysplasia.“More than 25 percent of Americans affected by oral cancer will lose their battle, and on average only about half will survive more than five years,” explains Dr. Amy Lazar, from ENTA’s Somerville, NJ office. “There has been a nearly five-fold increase of oral cancer in patients under age 40, many with no known risk factors. During the month of May, we are urging women to take a look at the insides of their mouths as part of their morning routine and, if they see or feel something unusual, ask their ENT physician to administer the OralCDx BrushTest, the first and only non-invasive oral cancer prevention test, now available nationwide.”

ENTA is reminding women to examine their mouths periodically and let their physicians know if they see or feel with their tongue any unexplained spots or changes. The OralCDx BrushTest, a covered benefit under virtually all medical insurance, allows ENT physicians to rule out pre-cancer and cancer by quickly and painlessly testing these common oral spots for precancerous cells. In the vast majority of cases any abnormality found by the BrushTest is still harmless because it was caught in time. This not only gives patients greater peace of mind, but it’s also a critical step toward putting an end to this devastating disease.

“With the development of a similar cancer prevention tool -- the Pap smear -- cervical cancer went from the number one cause of death among American women in 1955 to number 14 in 1992,” says Dr. Lazar. “It is our hope that, with enough awareness and education, we can put oral cancer on the list of potentially preventable cancers, comparable to what happened with cervical cancer.”

Visit entandallergy.com for more information.