When it comes to oral cancer survival rates, two numbers are key: 40% and 90%. They mean a lot to us at The Addison Dentist, where the oral cancer screenings we provide can save your life.
Here’s what those numbers mean: 40% of those who receive a late-stage oral cancer diagnosis die within five years. With early stage diagnosis, the survival rate is 90%.
Cancers that originate in the oral cavity (mouth) are labeled oral cancers. The oral cavity is comprised of the inside tissue of the mouth and cheeks, the lips, the tissue below the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the front two-thirds of the tongue.
“Why only two-thirds of the tongue?” you might ask. Because the back third of the tongue is considered part of the throat. Throat cancers are callsed oropharyngeal cancers and start in the oropharynx, the part of the mouth behind the oral cavity. The oropharynx consists of the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat.
How Are Oral Cancers Diagnosed?
Some oral cancers produce symptoms that prompt the patient to see a doctor. Others are found by dentists and doctors during exams. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more people received regular screenings.
A visual oral cancer exam is relatively quick and convenient, especially as compared to other cancer screening tests such as colonoscopies and mammograms. If an abnormality is discovered during an exam, the patient is referred to an appropriate specialist for further testing and diagnosis.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff)
Weak immune system
Frequent exposure to UV light
Be proactive. Ask us for an oral cancer screening at your next six-month checkup. At The Addison Dentist, we use VizLight, a state-of-the-art oral cancer screening procedure that detects mouth cancer earlier than any other method. We also provide general and cosmetic dentistry.