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Did you know that oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer and accounts for approximately 4% of all cancers diagnosed? Most of the oral cancer diagnoses are in

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

Early Oral Cancer Diagnosis is Key To Survival

patients older than 45 years old. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancers. The key to oral cancer, as in most cancers, is in early diagnosis. If diagnosed in its earliest stages, the chance for full recovery is at about 70% survival rate. The problem is that most are not diagnosed in its earliest forms, so less than half of all oral cancer patients are cured. Oral cancer also has the worst 5 year survival rate among all cancers, at about 57%.

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 8,000 deaths annually.

What’s the best way to get an early diagnosis early? Visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations, which typically include an oral cancer screening in the form of a soft tissue exam and in some cases the use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system. If you are not sure if your dentist has conducted a soft tissue exam, ask him or her to perform this screening for oral cancer, which includes a visual inspection of the oral cavity and palpation of the head, neck and oral cavity.

Causes of Oral Cancer?

As of now there is some debate over the actual cause of oral cancer but it is believed certain activities raise your risk for developing it. These include use of tobacco products, human papilloma virus (HPV), heavy alcohol use, as well as excessive exposure to the sun have all been found to have a link to developing oral cancer.

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

The most common site for oral cancer are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. Oral cancer shows up as red, white or discolored lesions, patches or lumps in or around the mouth, and it is typically painless and without symptoms in its early stages. As the malignant cancer spreads and destroys healthy oral tissue, the lesions or lumps can become quite painful. However, oral cancer is almost impossible to self diagnose so frequent dental examinations are

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

highly recommended. You should see your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following:
-Persistent mouth sore. Any mouth sore that persists longer than 10-14 days.

-a swelling, growth or lump anywhere in or near the mouth or neck.

-white or red patches in the mouth or on the lips.

-repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat.

-Persistent Sore Throat. Difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.

Dental Screening for Oral Cancer

Your dentist should screen for oral cancer during routine dental examinations. 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 oral 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.


There are some preventive measures an individual can take and these include:

-Do not use tobacco products.Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

-Refrain from excessive alcohol use.

When tobacco and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than for non-users of tobacco and alcohol products.

Research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may also safeguard against oral cancer development.

Because successful treatment and rehabilitation are dependent on early detection, it is extremely important to see your dentist for regular checkups including an oral cancer screening at least once a year. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. During your next dental visit, ask your dentist to do an oral cancer screening.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

Oral cancer is one of the deadliest cancers we can face. Luckily, as science advances we have some tools at our disposal, like the Velscope, to give us the best chance for early diagnosis. Live a healthy lifestyle and you will decrease the chance of developing oral cancer.

Coffee is a multi-billion dollar industry. Coffee is a morning staple in most households. Some cannot imagine starting a day without it. New research shows that those whoOral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS drink 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day reduce their risk for oral cancer by nearly half from those who do not drink coffee! This could potentially be a very significant finding as oral cancers are quite common and quite deadly.

Coffee And Oral Cancer Research Link

The research team found evidence that coffee intake and oral cancer risks are closely associated. In the study, they observed that participants who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day had an almost 50% reduced risk of death from oral cancer compared with those who never or only on occasion drank coffee.

Previous studies have suggested that coffee drinking is associated with lower risk of certain cancers, not necessarily oral cancer. Researchers from the American Cancer Society decided to see if coffee consumption had any effect on oral cancer. They investigated the effects of some of our favorite morning drinks including tea, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee. The research concluded that caffeinated coffee significantly lowered the risk of these types of cancers. The findings also suggested that the drink also prevented the growth and progression of the oral cancer.

The study followed almost 1 million participants over a 26 year period. All were cancer free at the start of the study. 868 participants died from oral cancer over that time span. Those participants who had more than 4 cups of  caffeinated coffee per day had an almost 50% reduced risk of death from oral cancer. There was a slight marginal effect from consuming decaffeinated coffee and zero effect found in tea drinkers.

Most head and neck cancers are linked to alcohol consumption and to smoking tobacco. Interestingly, the protective effect of coffee was not reduced in drinkers and smokers. Nor, was the effect boosted by consumption of fruits and vegetables, also shown to protect against head and neck cancers.

What Is Causing This?

It is believed that coffee contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biological active compounds (cafestol and kahweol, have anti-cancer properties) that may help to protect and slow the progression of cancers. It is important to note more research will be needed, but an association seems to be present. This could bode well into the future for development of new treatments to ward off not only oral cancer but other cancers as well.