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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

For most of us the mere mention of cancer is frightening. However, with today’s medical advancements many types of cancer of very treatable and curable. Unfortunately, oral cancer is not one of those types of cancer. In fact oral cancer kills one person per hour every day of the year in the United States alone. Another issue with oral cancer is it is often not detected until the later stages when it is most deadly.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer includes any cancer that begins and develops in your mouth. This can mean the throat, cheeks, tongue, hard and soft palates, floor of the mouth, or lips. Oral cancer usually begins as a sore in the mouth that does not heal. Unfortunately, many assume it is just a canker sore or a pizza burn and ignore it. This usually leads to a much later detection of the disease. The majority of oral cancer is classified as squamous cell carcinoma, which attacks epithelial cells.

Males are most at risk of developing oral cancer. They run 2x the risk as females do of developing oral cancer. That may be because many of the top causes of oral cancer, such as smoking, are more widely practiced by men than women. As for age, people who are middle-aged and older are most likely to develop the disease.

Oral cancer kills more than 8,000 people every year in the United States. Some 43,000 are newly diagnosed each year, but many others go into remission only to have the cancer come back a few years later. The oral cancer survival rate is 57 percent, and this has actually improved over the past decade (used to be 50% survival rate) as people become more vigilant about getting screened.

A disturbing trend is that an increasing number of oral cancer cases are being caused by HPV16 (a type of Human Papilloma Virus) that effects the mucus membranes and skin. It tends to affect the back of the mouth, including the oropharynx, the tonsils, and the base of the tongue.Unfortunately, since these types of cancer are in the back of the mouth, the color changes and lesions that often signal the presence of oral cancer can be more easily overlooked by patients. They may not know that their mouth has undergone any chance and not seek professional care.

Oral cancer has a high risk of recurring for the first 10 years after diagnosis. Patients are up to 20 times as likely to get cancer again as those who have not been diagnosed with oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

There are many risk factors and these can include:

-Smoking (Tobacco use).

-Excessive Drinking Of Alcohol.

-Smog.

-Herpes Infections.

-Age.

-Periodontal Disease.

-Poor Nutrition.

Oral Cancer Signs And Symptoms

The most commons signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

-Oral sores lasting for 2 weeks or more without healing.

-Facia or oral numbness.

-Unexplained facial or oral pain.

-Unexplained lingering sore throat.

-Changes in your voice (increased hoarseness).

-Ear pain.

-Unexplained weight loss.

-Frequent oral bleeding with no apparent cause.

-White or red patches in the mouth.

-Crusty lesions inside or outside the mouth.

Oral Cancer Screening By Your Dentist

Your dentist should screen for oral cancer during routine dental examinations at least twice a year. A manual and visual examination is necessary. He or she feels for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues. The use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system has been proven to diagnose precancerous as well as cancerous changes in the tissue as early as possible to give you the best chance for recovery and survival from oral cancer.

Treatment of Oral Cancer

If during your dental examination your dentist finds anything suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your treatment.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

If you have any concerns about your oral health or have any of the warning signs listed above, see your dentist immediately. As in any disease, an early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. So be vigilant and, even if you do not have any warning signs, visit your dentist for routine oral cancer screenings.

Cancer is never an easy disease to face. Many types of cancer are very treatable especially when diagnosed early. Oral cancer is one of those that are easily treatable in its very earliest stages. However, the prognosis changes dramatically once it progresses. Oral cancer is any cancer of the mouth and the pharynx. The most common oral cancer affects the squamous cells in your mouth and can spread quite quickly. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement, and even death. Oral cancer accounts for about 40,000 diagnoses per year and 8,000 deaths annually.

Causes Of Oral Cancer

-Use Of Tobacco Products.

-Heavy Alcohol Use.

-Human Paplilloma Virus (HPV).

-Excessive Exposure To Sun.

Warning Signs Of Oral Cancer

-Presence Of White Or Red Patch In The Mouth Or On The Lips.

-Persistent Mouth Sore. Any mouth sore that persists longer than 10-14 days.

-Persistent Sore Throat. Difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.

-Difficulty In Chewing, swallowing, moving the jaw or tongue.

-Numbness In The Tongue.

-A Constant, Unexplained Toothache.

-An Earache.

Oral Cancer Screening By Your Dentist

Your dentist should screen for oral cancer during routine dental examinations at least twice a year. A manual and visual examination is necessary. He or she feels for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues. The use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system has been proven to diagnose precancerous as well as cancerous changes in the tissue as early as possible to give you the best chance for recovery and survival from oral cancer.

Treatment of Oral Cancer

If during your dental examination your dentist finds anything suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your treatment.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

If you have any concerns about your oral health or have any of the warning signs listed above, see your dentist immediately. As in any disease, an early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. So be vigilant and, even if you do not have any warning signs, visit your dentist for routine oral cancer screenings.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April, 2014

 

Oral Cancer Facts

-Expected to have approximately 42,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in 2013 alone.

-Males account for almost 70% of all new cases.

Survival Rates of Oral Cancer

1 year – 89% survival

5 year – 56% survival

10 year – 41% survival

-Approximtely 8,000 deaths per year from oral cancer.

Age 0-44 – 9%

Age 45-54 – 20%

Age 55-64 – 29%

Age 65-74 – 21%

Over Age 75 – 21%

Keep The Whole Family Healthy With Regular Oral Cancer Screenings

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

-Family History of Cancer

-Presence of HPV-16 Virus

-Smoking Tobacco – Increases risk by a factor of 6.

-Alcohol Consumption – Increases risk by a factor of 6.

-Chewing Tobacco – Increases risk by a factor of 50!

-25% of all new oral cancer cases are patients who never smoke and only drink on occasion (or never). This is where the biggest growth of new oral cancer cases is occurring.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

-White or red patches.

-Long term earache that never seems to go away.

-Bleeding.

-Tooth Loss

-Sores in mouth that never heal.

-Lumps in head and neck area.

-Numbness of jaw or surrounding tissues.

-Pain upon swallowing.

Early Diagnosis Is The Key To Beating Oral Cancer

The earlier the cancer diagnosis is made and the quicker treatment is begun, the better chance for a successful long term prognosis from oral cancer. Oral cancer will spread very quickly and needs to be found early in its localized state before it progresses to other parts of the head and neck as well as the rest of the body.

The tool of choice in early diagnosis of oral cancer by many dentists is the VELscope. The Velscope uses a special light that can distinguish normal healthy tissue from precancerous and cancerous tissues. The VELscope examination takes about 1-2 minutes (and is non invasive!) and has literally saved thousands of lives. There are currently about 10,000-12,000 VELscopes in the United States alone. Make sure your dentist has a VELscope to ensure you are getting proper dental care for the possibility of oral cancer development.

Maintaining good dental health is important not only for our smiles but for our overall health. Studies have shown that poor dental health has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. Dental hygiene can be a difficult undertaking for many but did you know that some common habits make the job doubly difficult? Below you will find a list of some of the most common harmful habits to our dental health.

Harmful Habits Affecting Dental Health

-Smoking/Tobacco Use. Smoking and tobacco use have been studied extensively over decades of use and have shown to be harmful to our overall health including our oral health. Not only does it stain our teeth and cause periodontal disease, it also increases your risk for oral cancers. While stains may be difficult to remove they are not life threatening like oral cancer. The best defense against oral cancer is prevention and early diagnosis. Regular oral examinations by your dentist using a Velscope is a great way to detect any changes to your oral tissues. The Velscope is a special light that can point out areas of change to the dentist. Ask your dentist if they use a Velscope to help protect you against oral cancer.

-Oral Piercings. This includes tongue, lip, and even cheek piercings. The metal from the piercings can cause damage to the teeth and gum tissues. Fractures of teeth and gum recession are common in those with oral piercings. Infection is another risk factor as food can get trapped in and around them leading to a possible oral infection.

-Using Your Teeth As A Tool. Our teeth are meant to chew our food, speak properly, and enhance our smiles not to be sued as pliers or bottle openers. These habits can lead to fractures and cracking of teeth.

-Brushing Too Hard. It is recommended that you use a soft bristled toothbrush with regular even pressure. Brushing too hard or using too hard a brush can actually damage our teeth and cause gum tissue damage. You want a toothbrush where the bristles are firm enough to remove plaque, but soft enough not to cause damage.

-Rethink Your Drink. Drinking sugary drinks can lead to increased tooth decay but most are not aware of the acidic content in many soft drinks. The acid can also lead to tooth decay and erode our tooth enamel. It is important to have regular professional cleanings and dental examinations to minimize damage from these drinks. A good tip is to drink with a straw to avoid these drinks from coming in contact with your teeth.

-Cool It On Chewing Ice. Ice cubes may seem harmless but are quite dangerous to our teeth. The cold temperature and the hardness of ice cubes can do definite damage to your teeth. Crunching ice with your teeth may seem easy, keep in mind,  that even your kitchen blender requires special blades to crush ice.

Harmful Habits Conclusion

Some of these habits are difficult to break but it is necessary to keep your dental health at its optimum. Regular dental examinations and professional cleanings are necessary to catch any damage that may begin to occur as a result of these oral habits.