October is breast cancer awareness month. It is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October. I have a personal connection to breast cancer because I lost my mother to it at her age of 47 and my wife and mother-in-law are both survivors. It is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Breast cancer also affects men,too. Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. Early detection techniques, new treatments, and a better understanding of the disease are just some of the things that have increased the survival rate.
A breast cancer risk factor is anything that makes a person more likely to get breast cancer. A few are increasing age, being female, obesity, late menopause, first menstrual cycle, and alcohol consumption. Breast cancer affects the oral cavity directly and indirectly. Directly by metastasis or spread of breast cancer cells into the mouth and jaws. An oral metastatic deposit is the first manifestation of a primary malignant tumor in up to 1/3 of the cases. Meaning a simple oral screening can sometimes alert us if cancer may be occurring elsewhere in the body. Indirectly, by the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. More specifically, inflammation of the mouth’s soft tissues.
These different therapies can also predispose patients to infections, bleeding, dry mouth and tooth decay. Changes in taste , jaw stiffness, oral pain, burning and periodontal disease. Microorganisms in the mouth have been found in breast tumors. In our practice we use an instrument callled the Velscope VX for early discovery of oral abnormalities. The Velscope’s blue light stimulates natural fluorescence in the soft tissue of your mouth. Natural fluorescence seen through the Velscope VX allows us to see disease not visible with the naked eye. It helps us discover oral disease before it can be seen under ordinary light. Early detection is the key to survival. The state of your oral health can offer lots of clues about your overall health. Oral health and overall health are more connected than most people realize. The first sign of a disease can show up in your mouth. Call us today to schedule an exam with the aid of the Velscope Vx because sometimes our mouth keeps secrets and early detection can save your life.