There’s no overstating the gravity of oral cancer, nor the value of early detection. Being attuned to the health of your mouth and seeking professional dental care can truly be lifesaving.
Many often overlook oral cancer diagnoses. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most dangerous forms of cancer that we must take seriously. Learn the importance of early detection through oral cancer screening below.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Oral cancer encompasses cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. It can manifest as a sore that doesn’t heal, a white or red patch, persistent pain, or difficulty swallowing.
The risk factors of oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, and the human papillomavirus (HPV). The American Cancer Society estimates that doctors diagnose approximately 54,000 North Americans with oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer each year, leading to nearly 10,000 deaths.
What Will Early Detection Do for You?
Discovering this condition in its early stages offers many benefits in comparison to those diagnosed in later stages. Continue reading to learn more about said benefits.
Increased Survival Rates
The Oral Cancer Foundation states that the death rate of oral cancer is high, “due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.” They also inform readers that the survival rate within five years of a diagnosis is 57%. Although this statistic has improved in the past decade, the information conveys the value of an early diagnosis.
Advanced screening techniques and public awareness campaigns have contributed to more early-stage diagnosis cases, when intervention is most effective. Dentists and doctors now routinely perform oral screenings during regular check-ups, looking for any signs that could indicate the presence of cancerous cells.
Less Invasive Treatment Options
Treatment for advanced oral cancer often involves complex surgeries, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. It often takes an immense physical and mental toll.
Conversely, detecting cancer early may require less invasive treatments, such as excision and simple outpatient surgeries. These early procedures are much more effective and pose fewer side effects and risks.
Improved Quality of Life
Oral cancer treatment can potentially cause disfigurement and loss of function in various areas of the mouth, face, and throat. Diagnosing this type of cancer in the later stages calls for aggressive treatments. As a result, patients are more likely to suffer an array of side effects that diminish their quality of life.
Catching the disease early benefits patients with a lower likelihood of facial disfigurement, so they can maintain a higher quality of life due to fewer treatment-related complications. They are also more likely to retain critical functions, such as the ability to eat and speak normally.
Woodstock Smiles is here to help. Our dentists at Woodstock Smiles do it all, from teaching patients about the importance of early detection through oral cancer screenings to offering services as simple as a custom mouthguard. We’re ready to help you live your life to the fullest by helping you maintain a healthy mouth and quality lifestyle.