Early Detection Key to Surviving Oral Cancer 

The Oral Cancer Foundation recently reported that over 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with oral cancer, and 8000 deaths can be expected.  Traditionally, oral cancers have not gotten the publicity and the media coverage of other common cancers such as breast, lung, and prostate cancer.  That's unfortunate, because the 5 year survival rate of a patient diagnosed with oral cancer stands at 50-60 percent.  We will examine these findings, and hopefully shed light on how best to prevent this aggressive cancer.

Traditionally, oral cancers were predominantly seen in older patients with history of tobacco use, as well as in patients who regularly consumed alcohol.  Smokeless tobacco still plagues its users as a major causative agent, however a new player has taken over the top spot.  This player is the Human Papilloma Virus 16, or HPV16 for short.  This sexually transmitted virus not only is increasing the incidence of oral cancer, but also is the driving cause of cervical cancer today.  Changes in sexual behavior has been blamed for the recent increase in newly diagnosed cases. 

Oral cancers are dangerous, and often underdiagnosed, because of several key facts surrounding the disease.  Most cancers occur in the back of the mouth, and extend into the throat, making them hard to find.  Most show little to no color change initially, which greatly increases the likelihood of metastasis, which is estimated to be around 20%.  Most lesions are absolutely painless, and can easily go undetected for some time. 

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers compared to women, with the average age of initial diagnosis being around age 50.  Black Americans are affected twice as often as white Americans.  This cancer, which is squamous cell 90% of the time, is an equal opportunity offender.  Tobacco users, alcohol abusers, and patients with persistent HPV infection are at highest risk of development. 

What are the warning signs everyone should look for?  Any white or red patch found in the mouth or on the lips which doesn't heal in 14 days ought to be checked by a dentist.  These lesions may or may not be ulcerated, and are often non painful.  Any lump or mass felt in and around the mouth must be checked.  Difficulty swallowing, or painful swallowing or chewing could also be a warning sign.  A dentist would be the best professional to see initially to aid in the diagnosis.

Oral cancers have a dismal 50% 5 year survival rate according to statistics.  Patients are generally treated with surgery, radiation, and in some instances, chemotherapy.  With such a low survival rate, early prevention is the key.  As a Naples Florida dentist, I treat a wide variety of patients.  I regularly perform oral cancer screenings on all new patients, and existing patients are examined each time they return for hygiene recare.  If we as a nation took better care of our bodies, cut back on tobacco and alcohol use, and practiced more responsible sexual practices, the incidence of oral cancer would dramatically be reduced.  Until then, visit your dentist, and stay proactive.

Medical Articles Of Interest:
Early Detection Key to Surviving Oral Cancer
Protect yourself from Oral Cancer
Benefits of Double Mastectomy in Young Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer Questioned
 Seri Scaffold for long term breast lift results
"Internal Bra" for Breast lifting
Prevent Bone Loss After Tooth Loss
Stop Bone Loss in it's Tracts
CT Scans Improve Dental Implant Surgery
Dental Implants - Ct Scan Increases Accuracy Up To .1 mm
Sunscreen in Children and Babies even more important in prevention of Melanoma
Skin care in Naples
What causes Malignant melanomas?

Other Videos Of Interest:

© 2014 all rights reserved

Post a Comment