If you’ve had a checkup at Premier Dental before, you’ve probably had an oral cancer screening and didn’t even realize it. Oral cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world, and according to the American Cancer Society, only about 50% of people who are diagnosed with the disease will live for another five years; that’s why we make it a point to check for concerning symptoms in your mouth so that, should worst come to worst, you can get the treatment you need quickly and increase your odds of survival. If it’s been more than six months since your last visit, contact us today.
Oral cancer is any kind of cancer that develops in your mouth, including on your tongue, lips, cheeks and throat. There are many lifestyle choices and other factors (such as drinking, HPV, sun exposure, genetics and so on) that can put you at risk. The biggest by far is tobacco; smokers are 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers. Men over the age of 50 used to have the highest risk, but nowadays more and more younger patients are being diagnosed as well.
You should have at least one oral cancer screening every year. We’ll ask you a few questions about your health. Specifically, we want to know if there have been any changes in your mouth, neck jaw or throat. Be sure to mention anything out of the ordinary, even if there isn’t any pain involved.
If you have oral cancer, your five-year prognosis will depend largely on how advanced the disease already is by the time it’s diagnosed. If it has already spread to other parts of the body, the survival rate is only about 38%; on the other hand, if it’s still localized, then your chances become about 83%. In other words, successful treatment for oral cancer depends largely on detecting it in its early stages. Your regular dental checkups are your best opportunity to find a potential problem and potentially save your life.
Whether it’s cavities, tooth decay or gum disease, modern dentistry is all about prevention, and oral cancer is no exception. We’re here to help make sure you get the vital care you need, so if we do find signs of cancer, we’re ready to help you begin the process of treating it.