Cancer of the oral cavity is a lethal disease, killing 57% of all sufferers. If diagnosed early, survival improves significantly from 57% to over 80%. At Diamond Spring Dental Associates we can perform an oral examination or screening to help identify oral abnormalities. Oral Cancer is very difficult to self-diagnose so routine dental exams and oral cancer screenings are strongly recommended to help detect abnormalities.
Some Oral Cancer Facts:
- Oral Cancer kills one American every hour!
- Oral cancer accounts for over 8,000 deaths annually
- Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer
- The number of oral cancers has increased over a 6 year period, where all other cancers have declined
- Oral cancer has the worst five-year survival rate at 57%
- Oral cancer’s high mortality rate is due to late-stage discovery
- 63% of oral cancers are detected in late stage
- HPV (human papilloma virus) is the fastest growing oral cancer population and has increased 225% in the past three decades.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer:
- Previous history of oral cancer
- Over 40 years of age
- Smokeless tobacco
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
- Excessive exposure to the sun
40% of oral cancers are found in patients who do not present with any of the traditional risk factors or any other significant lifestyle risks. This means all patients, regardless of age and lifestyle, need an oral cancer screening.
When found at an early stage of development (Stage I and II), oral cancers have an 80% survival rate.
What is an oral cancer screening?
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
Detecting oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes.