Over 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year.
The odds of surviving oral cancer are much lower than with other cancers, primarily because it goes undetected for so long. Most people in the early stages of oral cancer have virtually no symptoms, which is why regular oral cancer screening is so important.
Catching the disease in the early stages can drastically improve your chances of survival.
One of the problems of oral cancer detection is that the lesions are identical to sores caused by many other, more benign, issues.
Symptoms of oral cancer include:
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and they do not improve within fourteen days, we advise you to contact our office for an oral cancer screening appointment.
There are many factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer, such as tobacco use of any kind, heavy alcohol use, an HPV diagnosis, or a previous oral cancer diagnosis, but many people who develop oral cancer have no associated risk factors. This is why it's important for everyone to be screened on a regular basis.
Oral cancer is often not detected until it has spread to other areas of the body, such as lymph nodes, giving you a lower chance of beating the disease. Regular oral cancer screening during your semi-annual examination can catch the cancer before it has metastasized, allowing for a more conservative treatment regimen and improving your odds of survival from 60% to 90%.
Dr. Ahmad, your dentist in Herndon, VA, takes oral cancer screening seriously. We offer this service as part of your six-month examination for your health and safety. In addition to a visual inspection, early-stage oral cancer can be detected through blue dye rinses and examination under a special light that reacts to abnormal cells. Once abnormal cells are detected in the mouth, a biopsy can be performed to determine if the lesion is cancerous.
If you have a positive biopsy for oral cancer, you will need a referral to an oncologist who specializes in oral cancers. Your oncologist will help determine the proper treatment options. Dr. Ahmad may be able to help mitigate some of the oral side effects of radiation or chemotherapy treatment, such as dry mouth.
Oral cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers and can be life-threatening in later stages. If you have not recently had a check-up that included screening for oral cancer, call our Herndon dental office today to make an appointment. It could save your life!