Oral Cancer Screening
Every year, about 45,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer. The death rate associated with oral cancer is especially high because it is often discovered later on. As with any 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 Family Dental. People with a higher risk for oral cancer should especially have screenings performed regularly. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use in any form.
- Severe alcohol use
- A previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Excessive sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer
Oral cancer is often deadly because it often goes unnoticed by the patient for an extended period of time. It can grow without producing pain or symptoms for a long time.
Also, patients who survive a first encounter with the disease, have up to 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer. This heightened risk factor can last for 5 to 10 years after the first occurrence. Approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States each year on treatment of head and neck cancers.
During a routine exam, we will screen for any red flags that may indicate the beginnings of oral cancer, such as abnormal tissue. If a screening test gives an abnormal result, you may need to have diagnostic tests performed. As with any chronic 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.