Oral cancer cases increase annually by 31,000 in America, according to the World Health Organization. The trend will last for the next several decades. Despite this disheartening reality, oral cancer is treatable if detected early, possibly before there’s any lymph node involvement.
Here are some facts about oral cancer:
- It occurs on the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks’ inner lining, the mouth floor, and the palate.
- It manifests as a persistent sore on the lip or mouth, a white/reddish patch, growth, or lump on the inside of the mouth.
- Oral cancer is hereditary in most cases.
- It is a slow process, but when it advances, the chances of recovery are thin.
True to the WHO’s prediction, oral cancer patients have increased exponentially in the last ten years. The only viable solution is early detection and diagnosis to increase the chances of treatment.
The only way to detect the tumor earlier is through regular screening. Oral Cancer Screenings are available countrywide; unfortunately, the individuals most susceptible to this condition rarely go for a checkup. Those most likely to get oral cancer include:
- Heavy alcohol users.
- Heavy tobacco smoking, chewing or inhaling.
- People with STDs like Syphilis and HPV.
- A weakened immune system.
- People over 50.
- People who spend most of their time in the sun; their lips get damaged due to excessive sun exposure.
Benefits of Oral Cancer Screenings
Mouth cancer is a slow process that starts as a thin layer of squamous cells. In this stage, a medical procedure can prevent the full manifestation of oral cancer. Individuals that go for regular screening can benefit from this early medical intervention.
The chances of cancer recurrence are relatively high for the upper aero-digestive tract. Frequent oral screenings can also aid in the early detection of repetitive symptoms that lead to recurrence. Since oral cancer is treatable, screenings should become a part of your routine. It is unclear what factors catalyze the squamous cells’ rapid growth, but medical practitioners concluded that alcohol and tobacco are the leading causes. If you are a heavy smoker or drinker, oral cancer screenings are your only defense against this chronic illness.
Also, researchers have concluded that there is a 64% five-year survival chance for patients whose oral cavity cancer detection is in the I or II stage. The stage III and IV patients’ survival chances are limited to 15%.
In summary, although patients should make the effort of going for oral cancer screenings, public health practitioners ought to include them in routine medical checkups.
In some regions, the community hardly knows about oral cancer. As a result, these individuals would never request one until their symptoms have advanced. Moreover, some of these oral cancer symptoms can be confused with the common cold.
The responsibility lies with the medical team in a community to create awareness about oral cancer. This team could also set aside weekends for mass oral cancer screenings.
Public awareness is the only route towards increased oral cancer screenings. With that in mind, we offer oral cancer screening services at Mountain View Dental. We also have offices in Alamogordo, New Mexico.