THIS YEAR ALONE, 400,000 people throughout the world will be diagnosed with oral cancer. 40% of those diagnosed won’t live another five years. Oral cancer has such a dismal survival rate because it’s usually not detected until very late in its progression.
The Risk Factors Of Oral Cancer
Risk factors for oral cancer are primarily environmental. Abuse of alcoholic beverages, tobacco use, and even certain over indulgences in foods can be linked to an increase in Squamous Cell Carcinoma (the most prevalent form of oral cancer).
What Can You Expect From Oral Cancer Screening?
At our practice, we ask you to complete a brief questionnaire on your first visit. The survey assesses the patient’s medical history (history of illness, medications, etc.), the patient’s dental history (previous restorations, periodontal therapy, etc.), and the patient’s social history (Alcohol, tobacco, drug use).
This along with an intraoral soft tissue exam will allow our team to assess any presence of cancerous or precancerous lesions; this will also allow us to assess predisposition to lesions in the future, and how they may be best avoided.
Early Detection Is SO Important
Early oral cancer detection can boost survival rates to 80–90%! One of the reasons oral cancer goes undetected is because many of the symptoms are not painful. If you experience any of the following symptoms, please let us know right away:
- A lump or thickening of your cheek
- A white or red patch on any part of your inner mouth or throat
- A sore inside your mouth that doesn’t heal within two weeks
- Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw
- Numbness inside your mouth
- Chronic difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Jaw swelling
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense
Early detection is the key. Getting to a cancerous lesion before it has grown, or worse, metastasized greatly increases the prognosis of the disease process. Regular dental cleanings with an examination will allow us to catch the disease early, and reduce the chance of more problems in the future.
Blythe Danner on Oral Cancer:
As your trusted, lifelong oral health partner, we want to keep you and your loved ones as healthy as possible. Let us know if you have questions about oral cancer or any of the symptoms mentioned above. And share this information with someone you love!