Simply Dental offers free oral cancer screenings

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John Clauss, DDS hopes to raise awareness about oral cancer. (Submitted photo)

John Clauss, DDS hopes to raise awareness about oral cancer. (Submitted photo)

By Marcia Ellett

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the office of Simply Dental of Fishers is offering free oral cancer screenings throughout April. Partnering with the Oral Cancer Foundation, Simply Dental aims to raise awareness about this disease, which struck more than 43,000 Americans last year alone.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, a national nonprofit organization designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy and patient support, oral cancer is on the rise and most often caused by the use of tobacco and alcohol or through exposure to the HPV-16 virus, which is now the leading cause of oral cancer in the U.S. Young, nonsmokers make up the fastest-growing segment of the oral cancer population.

While there is an 80 percent survival rate for those diagnosed early, diagnosis most often occurs when oral cancer is already in late stage, leading to around a 43 percent death rate at five years from diagnosis. This is a direct result of a lack of public awareness about the risks and realities of oral cancer.

“A little prevention can go a long way,” said Simply Dental’s John Clauss, D.D.S. “I try not to just focus on teeth. That saying that ‘the mouth is the gateway to the body’ — it’s true.”

Dentists are trained to look and properly screen for oral cancer, which might not be the case with a general physician.

The screening includes a visual and tactile exam, as well as the use of a VELscope, an FDA-approved device that uses bright, blue light to detect tissue abnormalities that might not be seen by the naked eye.

When it comes to mouth health or other areas of the body, Clauss said, “In general, we tend to know our own body. If you have something that doesn’t heal or doesn’t feel right, take your body’s advice and get it looked at.

“We’re here to help take care of people,” he said. “It starts with thoroughness.”

Simply Dental is located at 11876 Olio Rd. To make an appointment for a free oral cancer screening, call 570-2777. For more information on oral cancer, visit oralcancerfoundation.org.

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