It has been estimated that over 35,000 People in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer a year – oral cancer detection is vital for patient safety and health. Of those newly diagnosed patients, only a little more than half will be alive in 5 years. Over half to two thirds of these cancer patients are men and they are over the age of 45. The death rate of oral cancer is very high because it is usually discovered late in its development . Over ¼ of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer have no history or smoking, using chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol. It is the 6th most common cancer found.
• Most common oral cancer sites
The most common areas in the mouth to find oral cancer are the back side of the tongue, soft palate, floor of the mouth, gums and lips.
• Mouth cancer is life threatening
Mouth cancer can be a terminal illness. If it is found early and diagnosed correctly, it can be treated. When found early, it is our wish for it to be the primary site and not to have spread to other parts of the body. If found late, it can spread to other parts of the body, it can lead to major disfigurement of the oral area, and even result in death.
• Signs of oral cancer – oral cancer detection
When examining your mouth, the dentist looks for several things. Abnormal color changes in the tissue, areas of disturbed tissue in the mouth that have a thicker appearance, and an area that bleeds easily that may be painful.
• Things you can do to help prevent oral cancer
Tobacco products of all kinds should be eliminated from your life. Tobacco use in all its forms is the number one risk factor for oral cancer for those over the age of 50. Those patients that are diagnosed with oral cancer over the age of 50 have a 75% chance of being a tobacco user of some kind. Cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars,and smokeless tobacco products are all factors that can increase your risk of cancer. Alcohol combined with tobacco products will increase the risk by at least fifteen times. Poor Sun protection is also a major risk factor. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to lower the risks of many cancers.
• Regular dental checkups with your dentist may save your life
When visiting your dentist twice a year for teeth cleanings, it is common to be examined not only for cavities and gum problems, but also for oral cancer. Oral cancer in its earliest stages can go unnoticed and not be painful. Your dentist can feel or see the tissue changes even while cancer is still very small or in its earlier stages. It is very important to have your dentist check any sore that occurs in your mouth that has not healed after 14 days of being discovered.