Oral Cancer Detection
Unfortunately, oral cancer is not usually found so early. When it’s discovered at a later stage, the odds of 5-year survival drop below 60%. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimates that one in four individuals diagnosed with oral cancer will not survive because their diagnosis and treatment were delayed. This shows how important it is to detect oral cancer as early as possible.
While most people who get oral cancer are over 40 years of age, a growing number of younger people are diagnosed with the disease every year. This disturbing trend is thought to be the result of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16), which is sexually transmitted. So today, oral cancer screenings are important not just for older folks, but for everyone.
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
The simplest way to test for oral cancer is by a visual inspection of the mouth, lips, tongue, and surrounding area. This is generally performed in our office, during your routine dental examination. We will check the tissues outside and inside your mouth for any signs of possible disease, and gently move your tongue aside for a look at areas that are harder to see. We may also feel for lumps in your mouth, fact, and throat.
What Happens Next?
Like typical mouth sores or temporary discolorations, the majority of suspicious areas will likely turn out to be benign. But to make sure, a small sample of any tissues which are suspected of carrying the disease will be sent to a laboratory for biopsy. A laboratory biopsy is the only certain way to know if oral cancer is present.
Early detection and treatment has a proven value in increasing survival rates for this serious malady. To offer our patients the greatest chance of finding the disease in its early stages, we keep abreast of current research in the area and utilize the most appropriate and effective high-tech systems for oral cancer detection.