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Oral Cancer



Oral cancer is a very serious condition that can be difficult to detect if it’s not done regularly by a medical professional. In most cases, patients are completely unaware that they have this condition because it has almost no symptoms in its early stages. Many people are not aware of the severity of this cancer or how easy it is to get checked just by visiting the dentist. Oral cancer screening can be completed in just minutes during regular dental procedures.


In most cases, oral cancer is usually detected too late, usually after it has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes in the neck. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, almost 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person an hour, 24 hours a day. Of those 43,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will live more than 5 years. Once the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the prognosis is significantly worse than when it is caught earlier. Once the cancer is able to invade deep into local structures, it is almost impossible to completely remove. In its early stages, the cancer can appear anywhere in the oral cavity, and is most often found:

  • On the lips

  • On or under the tongue

  • Roof of the mouth

  • Back of the throat

  • Inside the cheek

Patients who regularly use tobacco and alcohol are at a much higher risk of contracting oral cancer, especially with chewing tobacco use. Oral cancer has also been discovered in patients diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can cause cancers in the back of the throat, most commonly in the base of the tongue and tonsils. The leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer is from HPV, but a very small number of oral cancers also occur from HPV.

Screenings During Procedures:

Medical professionals believe that it is important to have an oral cancer screening at least once a year, especially those who are at a higher risk. Dentists are able to incorporate oral cancer screenings into regular check-ups and cleanings. During an oral exam, the dentist will look over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. The dentist will also feel the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities. By just asking your dentist about oral cancer screenings, you are taking the right steps toward having a healthy, happy mouth for many years to come.


This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the services of a doctor. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information in this newsletter/website is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for professional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.


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