Each year 36,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. The death rate from oral cancer is very high; about 43 percent of those diagnosed will not survive more than five years. This alarming statistic is directly related to two factors: lifestyle choices and late stage detection.
At Oral Dynamics, we are committed to early detection when cure and survival are most likely. Even pre-cancerous tissue changes can often be detected. At every examination visit, we do a visual and tactile exploration of your mouth, chin and neck. Additionally, we use the VelScope® fluorescent light in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to screen for tissue abnormalities. If something seems suspicious, we may use a dye (ViziLite®-blue) for definition or a brush biopsy to collect cells for microscopic examination. Finally, for a definitive diagnosis, a tissue biopsy will be performed.
Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are the leading causes of oral cancers. Not using tobacco is the single most important thing you can do to avoid oral cancer. All forms of tobacco are bad. Alcohol should be used in moderation.
HPV viral infections are increasingly being viewed as a causative agent in oral cancers in younger, non-smoking men and women. Other risk factors include sun exposure, age, low intake of fruits and vegetables, use of betel nut and race, ethnicity, and economics.
Signs and Symptoms
In the early stages of oral cancer’s development, it is often painless, and the physical signs may not be obvious. This makes it a very dangerous disease. Regular screenings by Dr. Michael Rowland, a qualified medical or dental professional, combined with a person’s knowledge of the warning signs and symptoms, will allow its discovery in the earliest possible stages, when cure and survival are most likely. Even pre-cancerous tissue changes can often be detected by a trained professional.
- Red or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth
- Any sore which does not heal within 14 days
- Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time
- A sensation that something is stuck in your throat
- Numbness in the oral region
- Difficulty in moving jaw or tongue
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Ear pain which occurs on one side only
- A sore under a denture, which still does not heal even after adjustment of the denture
- A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck
Call 610-435-5707 today to schedule an oral cancer screening with our dentist and team!