According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 42,000 patients are newly diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Within the same amount of time, it may claim close to 8,000 lives. To keep an eye out for oral cancer, you should frequently perform self-examinations for the telltale signs of oral cancer, as well as attend routine dental checkups and cleanings (which include a thorough oral cancer screening). Today, we explore what to look for in your oral cancer screening, as well as some of the more interesting facts concerning the potentially deadly disease.
What You Should Know
- Classified as a head and neck cancer, oral cancer encompasses cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, and any other part of the mouth. Together, oral cancers comprise about 85% of all head and neck cancers.
- Often, late detection significantly increases the mortality rate of oral cancer. In fact, when detected late, the survival rate for oral cancer is only around 57%. When caught and treated early, however, the survival rate jumps to around 80-90%.
- Although tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are significant risk factors for oral cancer, even patients who don’t smoke or drink can be at risk from a number of other factors. For instance, the HPV16 virus is a known risk for oral cancer, as well as age, ethnicity, and gender.
Looking for Oral Cancer
A professional screening is the best way to detect the early signs of oral cancer; however, regular self-screenings can greatly increase your chances. When searching inside your oral cavity, be sure to look for white or red patches on your soft oral tissues, profusely bleeding sores (especially if they don’t heal), chronic soreness/hoarseness in your throat, one or more lumps, or difficulty swallowing. If you notice one or a combination of these abnormalities, then visit us as soon as possible for a professional oral cancer screening.
We employ the advanced VELscope system, which utilizes a specially calibrated blue-spectrum light to highlight irregular areas of oral tissue. With VELscope, we can significantly increase our patients’ chances of detecting and successfully treating oral cancer early.
Learn About Early Oral Cancer Detection
With regular preventive dental care, you can keep a close eye on the potential development of oral cancer and other oral health concerns. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Syosset Dental in Syosset, NY today at 516-433-2211 or 516-921-1678.