By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s National Oral Cancer prevention month. As the number of cases in this country continue to climb, a local dentist stresses the importance of screening for the disease.

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“Early prevention is what helps in preventing people unfortunately dying from this disease,” Dr. Leonard Tau with the Pennsylvania Center for  Dental Excellence in Northeast Philadelphia says.

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“A hundred new cases are diagnosed each day and one person passes away from oral cancer of every hour of every day. Studies show that 40,000 cases are expected in 2012. But when found early, there is an 80 to 90 percent survival rate.”

Dr. Tau says the non-invasive screening is $35 and he recommends regular oral cancer checks at least once a year, especially for those at high risk like people with a history of tobacco and alcohol use.

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For screenings, he uses a wand like instrument called The Identafi 3000. A multi spectrum device that uses three different wavelengths of light to detect any abnormality.