Added on July 15, 2018
Oral cancer is a potentially fatal form of Head and Neck Cancer. In 2005, the World Health Organization ranked oral cancer as the 11th most prevalent cancer in world. Oral cancer represents for 3 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States, accounting for a higher proportion of all cancers than skin melanoma or ovarian cancers. It is estimated that over 51,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018.
Oral cancers are largely asymptomatic and do not tend to cause pain. As such, many oral cancers are diagnosed at a late stage. Sixty percent of oral cancers are only discovered when the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body. Due to the late diagnosis of many oral cancers, the mortality rate of oral cancers tends to be particularly high. Late diagnosis of oral cancer has a very high mortality rate, with a 5 year survival rate of only 9%. Fortunately, with regular check-ups and early detection the 5 year survival rate jumps to 85%.
Oral cancer can develop in any of the following places:
An important aspect in the early detection of oral cancer is identifying individual risk factors. Broadly speaking, the main risk factors for oral cancer are:
Pre-cancerous and early cancerous lesions are asymptomatic and usually present as a white or red patch. These lesions can advance into ulcerations. Oral cancer can present as:
As part of your initial oral examination and regular check-ups, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening to look for any abnormalities. If any suspicious areas are detected, your dentist will collect a sample of the suspicious tissue from the area and send it to a laboratory for microscopic analysis. Depending on the area of the oral cavity involved, your dentist may refer you to a specialist for collection of the tissue sample.
We are pleased to be able to offer oral cancer screening to patients with state-of-the-art technology. Call us today on to reserve your appointment with one of our knowledgeable and friendly dentists.