Oral cancer can be life threatening. It’s not as widely known as many other cancers, but in the US alone, on average, a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. While this is a realatively small percentage of overall cancer fatalities, Oral cancer is dangerous because it generally goes undected until it’s reached an advanced stage.Five year survival rates for advanced oral cancers are about 60%.
The good news is that a simple test can help detect oral cancer in its early stages. And that test is performed at Steven Leach Dental. With early detection survival rates increase to 80%. So, this test can be a literal life saver.
The best news is that this fast, painless examination is part of your regular office checkup. Dr Leach will perform a non-invasive visual and tactile (feel) assessment of your lips, tongue and the inside of your mouth. He’ll check for red or white patches, unusual sores, lumps, or swelling. A special light, dye, or other procedure may also be used to check suspect areas. If anything appears to be out of the ordinary, Dr Leach may perform a biopsy to extract tissue for analysis at the lab.
Who is at risk? Most people assume that oral cancers are diseases that strike older adults. While the risk is generally greater for patients over 40, younger people are the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients, mailny due to the spread of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16).
Other risk factors include:
Any abnormal sores or color changes in the tissue of your mouth, lips or tongue may be a sign of oral cancer. While most of these symptoms are completely benign, sores or unusual changes that haven’t healed after 2-3 weeks should be examined. Remember, the only way to accurately diagnose oral cancer is through a laboratory report. Early detection, aided by regular screenings at Steven Leach Dental, is one of the best defenses against oral cancer.