Although oral cancer may not seem as threatening as other widely-known types of cancer, it is just as deadly. Oral cancer is responsible for the death of one person every hour in the United States alone.
The reason oral cancer is so dangerous is not because it is extremely common, but because it usually isn’t detected until its later stages. While oral cancer is easily treatable in its early stages, it becomes almost impossible to stop as it progresses.
The death rate of oral cancer is higher that of cervical cancer, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer, and other forms of cancer. The overall 5-year survival rate of oral cancer is only 63%. If the cancer has spread distantly, the 5-year survival rate drops to a mere 38%.
With all of this nerve-wracking news, there is also some good news: Oral cancer can be easily detected at your routine dental appointment. Oral cancer screenings are painless, quick, and ultimately essential to beating oral cancer.
Who is at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer mostly affects patients over 40, but surprisingly, young people are the fastest-growing group among oral cancer patients. Major risk factors include:
- Moderate to heavy drinking
- Long-time tobacco use
- Chronic exposure to sun
- Genetic factors
Both men and women can develop oral cancer, and some without any of the risk factors for the disease. We suggest our patients complete an oral cancer screening at least once yearly.
Fast and Painless Oral Cancer Exams
Dr. Zweber will briefly search your mouth for small changes such as sores or lumps. If abnormalities are detected, we will take a small tissue sample for further testing.
Your oral cancer screening is simply a part of your routine dental checkup. The screening includes:
- A visual assessment of the lips, tongue, and tissues of the mouth
- Tactile exam looking for the presence of lumps or swelling
- A special dye or light used to detect abnormalities
If you notice any abnormal changes in your mouth, such as a sore that won’t heal or a change in color, come in for an oral cancer screening right away. However, the best way to beat oral cancer is by detecting it before you start noticing the symptoms.
Let’s defend your oral health so you can live a long and healthy life. To schedule your quick screening, contact Cordata Dental Professional — Your Dental Home today!