Oral cancer is survivable if it is caught early on, and the best chance of catching oral cancer is through an annual exam conducted by your dentist.The American Dental Association, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, recommends that everyone be screened for oral cancer at least once a year by their dentist. 34,000 people are diagnosed every year with oral cancer. Of those numbers, eight thousand will die because their oral cancer was not caught in time. Oral cancer is survivable, but there is a direct correlation between catching it early and high survival rates. People who die of oral cancer likely did not catch it in the early stages because they did not know anything was wrong and they did not have yearly screenings as part of their preventive care by a dentist.
Oral cancer often goes undetected because the symptoms are not well known and they are easy to miss if you're not looking for them. The symptoms of oral cancer include having a hard time swallowing or chewing, sores in the mouth that last two weeks or more, painful lesions or lumps inside the mouth and red or white areas in the soft tissue inside your mouth.
People who smoke and/or drink alcohol or have had oral cancer before are at the greatest risk for developing oral cancer. People who abuse either one of these drugs are at an even higher risk than those who do not use either one. Did you know seventy five percent of all head and neck cancers originate in the oral cavity? Specifically thirty percent of all oral cancer begins in the tongue, 17% of oral cancer begins in the lip, 14% of oral cancer begins in the floor of the mouth, and the majority seventy five percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer carry risk factors for developing it. Your dentist will tell you that even if you are not in this high risk group, you are still at risk and should have an oral cancer exam by your dentist annually. Keep in mind that one in four people over the age of 50 who are diagnosed with oral cancer carried no risk factors.
Your dentist can perform a simple oral cancer screening in five minutes as part of your dental exam. There are several ways your doctor can find abnormal tissue inside your mouth, including applying a blue dye that you rinse out. The abnormal cells inside your mouth will stay blue, this won't tell your doctor if the cells are cancerous or normal. However. it will tell you that you need to follow up with a physician right away.
Your doctor can also detect oral cancer with the use of special lights that can make healthy tissue appeared dark and make suspect tissue appear white. Again this is an excellent way to indicate that you need a follow-up visit with your doctor. If you are in the high risk group for developing oral cancer, make sure to ask your doctor about an oral cancer screening so that you don't join the ranks of the 8,000 people who die every year because their cancer is detected too late.
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