Oral Cancer Screening
Early detection is the key to survival.
How common is oral cancer?
Common names for oral cancer include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. While some people think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancer will be newly diagnosed in about 100 individuals each day in the US alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. Approximately 42,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lips. This is the fifth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers, in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year.
What causes oral cancer?
Tobacco and alcohol use have been strongly associated with the increased risk of oral cancer. Exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, has also been associated with the development of oral cancer. This is the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these cancers are likely related to a genetic predisposition.
What can I do?
When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate. Unfortunately at this time, the majority of oral cancers are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis in the US. Therefore, early detection is truly the key. At Prestige Dental, Dr. Bouzoghlanian and staff understand the importance of this fact. He performs a thorough oral cancer screening and comprehensive exam on new patients, and routinely on existing patients. If you notice anything suspicious in or around your mouth, such as a growth, lump, persistent white or red patches or spots, changes in the color or texture of your gums or the lining inside your mouth, contact your dentist immediately for an evaluation.
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