Dental News

Oral Cancer Screenings

May 27, 2015


EARLY DETECTION IS KEY. Your dentist is your first line of defense against potentially deadly oral cancers.

Visiting the dentist isn’t just good for your oral health. It can also help support your overall health. For example, getting an oral cancer screening at California Dental Group could actually save your life.

Left undiagnosed, oral cancer tends to spread rapidly to surrounding tissues and organs, giving it the potential to be deadly. In fact, the death rate for oral cancer is actually higher than that of many other cancers such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers. Oral cancer occurrence increases every year and is 3 TIMES GREATER than cervical cancer. Close to 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed this year. Of these, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.

The good news is that your dentist can serve as a strong first line of defense against oral cancer. Through oral cancer screenings, dentists aid in the early detection of oral cancers in their most curable forms. Patients who act on their dentist’s advice and get treatment right away have an oral cancer survival rate of 80 to 90 percent.

Who Is at Risk?

There will be about 8,650 oral cancer deaths this year, or about one death every hour. While all adults should get routine oral cancer screenings, if any of the following risk factors apply you need to be especially careful to keep up with your screenings:

  • Age –90 percent of oral cancer occurs in patients age 45 or older
  • Sexually transmitted HPV (16 and 180)—this is now the leading cause of oral cancers among young, healthy, non-smokers
  • African ancestry—men of African ancestry have an especially high risk of oral cancer in every age group
  • Alcohol and tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco) continue to be major risk factors

 Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Oral cancer frequently has no symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • A sore, lump or ulcer on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal
  • Enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue or lining of the mouth
  • Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
  • Oral pain that does not go away or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Difficulty or pain with chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty with jaw opening
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
  • Tooth loosening
  • Bad breath
  • Sensory loss of the face
  • Abnormal taste in the mouth
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Tongue swelling
  • Persistent sore throats

Schedule Your Screening Today

If you have any of the above signs or symptoms of oral cancer, or if it has been more than a year since your last routine dental cleaning and exam, we urge you to contact California Dental Group. We will be happy to schedule an oral cancer screening with an experienced dentist at any of our 7 clinic locations.

Call today to make an appointment for a free oral cancer screening for all the adults in your family.