During your regular oral exam your doctor will also be on alert for any signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is a serious disease which kills more people than other cancers such as thyroid, cervical, and other forms of the disease. One of the reasons oral cancer is so deadly is not because it is hard to treat, but because many times it is not discovered until it has developed into the late stages of the disease. This is why oral cancer screening is so important. Here are some sobering facts about oral cancer:
- Almost 50,000 people in America will be diagnosed with pharyngeal or oral cancer this year.
- Oral cancer will kill over 9,500 per day which is roughly one person per hour, 25 hours a day.
- Of those diagnosed just a bit more than half will survive over five years. This is because of the advanced stage oral cancer is diagnose.
Oral cancer is also so dangerous because many times there is no pain or obvious symptoms noticed by the patient. Your best defense against this disease is regular oral cancer screening done during regular dental exams.
Oral Cancer Screening
Screening for oral cancer takes only minutes. Your doctor will examine your gums, hard palette, and soft tissues of the mouth, look for any changes in tissue, and may take digital images. This includes the inside of your gums, tongue, and lips. Your doctor will also examine your neck and the symmetry of your face. Your doctor will also feel you neck for any swollen lymph nodes. Your doctor may do other procedures which are used for screening.
If any suspicious areas are found, your doctor may perform a biopsy. A biopsy is a sample of tissue which is then sent off to the lab for evaluation. A biopsy may be a simple swab sample, or you may need a surgical biopsy depending on where the area is and how far your doctor feels the disease may have advanced.
Don’t take chances with your health. If caught early, oral cancer has a high survival rate. Call and set up regular oral cancer screenings today.