Head and neck cancers account for about three percent of malignancies – roughly 63,000 diagnoses, 13,000 deaths – in the U.S. annually.
Cancers typically begin in the squamous cells that line moist mucosal surfaces i.e.: inside the mouth, nose and throat and are categorized by the area of the head or neck where they begin.
Head and neck cancers can appear in oral cavities, in the throat or behind the nose, in the nasal cavity, in your voice box, and/ or on the floor of the mouth near the jawbone.
Your enhanced dental benefits include two screenings for oral cancer. It takes just a few minutes and improves the chances that any potentially cancerous or precancerous lesions will be caught early and successfully treated. Your dentist will carefully inspect the following areas for sores, spots, and lumps:
Be sure to tell your dentist if you’ve noticed a sore or lump in your mouth that doesn’t heal, or are experiencing a constant sore throat, difficulty swallowing and/ or voice change or hoarseness.
Radiation therapy is standard treatment for head or neck cancer patients and can cause gum infections, mouth sores and tooth decay. Visiting a dentist prior to radiation therapy to have any needed treatment completed is necessary to prevent serious oral problems from developing after or during radiation treatment.
To help manage the condition and improve oral health, our Dental Xtra program provides enhanced dental benefits for enrolled program members who are diagnosed with oral cancer. These benefits are covered 100% with no out-of-pocket expenses when seeing a participating provider.
Members with health and dental plans from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield who have a diagnosis of oral cancer are enrolled automatically. Dental members who don’t have a health plan with Arkansas Blue Cross can easily enroll online.
To use your enhanced dental benefits, simply make an appointment with your dentist. To find a dentist in your plan’s network, visit our provider directory.