Oral Cancer

As with most serious diseases, early detection is the key to successful outcomes. We use both VELSCOPE and VIZILITE PLUS screening methods which assist in seeing abnormal tissue in the mouth, at early stages before it is plainly obvious.

About Oral Cancer

Most people are surprised to learn that one American dies every hour from oral cancer; a death rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years.  In fact, recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society indicate that while the incidence and death rates for cancers overall has decreased, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5% and the death rate has increased by 1.5%

Oral cancer is far too often discovered in late stage development, the primary reason for the consistently high death rate.  Oral cancer treatment often results in disfiguring effects on patients, and can seriously compromise their quality of life.  Early detection and diagnosis can make a tremendous difference in life expectancy; oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages. Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, leading to a five-year survival rate of 57%.  The death rate in the United States for oral cancer is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the brain, liver, testes, kidney, or ovary.

Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, but the tongue appears to be the most common location. Other oral structures could include the lips, gums, soft palate and other tissues  in the mouth.

Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, sexually active persons due to the prevalence of  HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and a history of oral cancer.

If detected early then survival rates are good, and scheduling regular checkups at our office is one of the best ways of helping limit your chances of developing this cancer.