The Troubling Numbers on Oral Cancer
Oral cancer refers to any cancer that affects any area of the mouth, as well as the lips, gums, or tongue. The Oral Cancer Foundation provides these disturbing details on the prevalence of oral cancers:
- About 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year.
- Oral cancers cause 9,750 deaths in the U.S. every year. That equates to one death per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- The five-year survival rate for oral cancer patients is just 57 percent, in large part because it often is not detected until its advanced stages.
- There are more deaths due to oral cancer each year than brain, testicular, and cervical cancers combined.
How To Protect Yourself
As with any cancer or serious medical condition, prevention is your best defense. Lower your risk of oral cancer by limiting unprotected sun exposure, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a balanced diet, avoiding over-consumption of alcohol, and ceasing any use of tobacco products.
Meanwhile, if you identify these symptoms, call your dentist in Lake Forest to schedule an oral cancer screening as soon as possible.
- Red or white spots and sores that form anywhere in your mouth
- Mouth sores that are tender, seem to bleed easily or appear to not heal
- Any lump, rough spot or thickened patch of skin in the mouth
- Experiencing any consistent pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulties chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw and/or tongue
What to Expect from an Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a simple and straightforward procedure. One of our dentists, Dr. Douglas Campbell or Dr. David Schmidt, will perform gentle palpations of the soft tissues of your mouth. Problematic or precancerous areas may need to be biopsied for further testing.
These screenings are performed using Velscope—a wireless, handheld scope that uses natural tissue fluorescence to identify oral mucosal abnormalities that otherwise would never be detected by the naked eye. This light highlights precancerous cells or other cellular structure changes that could be a sign of cancer. We recommend screening at every checkup for patients who are at especially high risk for oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screenings in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire
Our oral cancer screenings represent just one aspect of our overall program of preventive care. Trust our dentists to safeguard your overall health and be on the lookout for oral cancer while also protecting against threats such as tooth decay and gum disease. Make your appointment today by calling (847) 234-4800.
Drs. Campbell and Schmidt proudly serve the oral health needs of our patients in the areas of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire.