Oral Cancer Screening
In the span of one year, about 45,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer. While oral cancer is as treatable as other forms, the death rate associated with oral cancer is especially high, because it is often discovered long after the cancer has begun to spread. Similar to any other form of cancer, the sooner it is discovered, the more successfully it can be treated. That’s why oral cancer screenings are a regular part of a dental exam at Orangewood. People with higher risk for oral cancer should especially have screenings performed regularly. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
- A previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Severe alcohol use
- Tobacco use
- Excessive sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer
Because it often goes unnoticed by the patient for an extended period of time, oral cancer is especially deadly, and it can grow without producing pain or symptoms for a long time.
Also, patients who survive a first encounter with the disease are far more likely to have a relapse, even if it has been several years since the first occurrence. This heightened risk factor can last for 5 to 10 years after the first occurrence.
We will screen for any indications that the early phases of oral cancer have begun, such as abnormal tissue, in every routine exam. If a screening test gives an abnormal result, you may need to have diagnostic tests performed. As with any serious condition, early detection is the key to successful treatment. If you’re due for an appointment, and haven’t had this crucial screening done in a while, give us a call today.