Every year, 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, and about 8,000 people will be killed from this terrifying disease. That’s approximately one death per hour.
The death rate for oral cancer has always been comparatively high compared to many other common cancers. This is not because oral cancer is especially hard to diagnose or treat, but because the cancer is typically discovered very late in its development. There is not a systematic, comprehensive screening program for the cancer in the US, and as a result discovery commonly occurs much too late for effective treatment. Usually, the cancer is only found after it has metastasized to another location, commonly the lymph nodes in the neck. By this time, the primary cancer has had time to deeply invade into main structures of the original location, and with multiple instances of it occurring in different parts of the body, it’s very hard to treat.
What makes oral cancer so dangerous is the fact that in its early stages it can thrive without showing any symptoms or pain and thus goes unnoticed by the host. Additionally, it has an uncanny tendency to develop a second cancer, a risk factor that can last for anywhere between five to ten years.
It is vitally important to screen for oral cancer with your dentist as often as possible. A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe recognizes this and incorporates screenings into every dental examination. If it is time for your biannual dental check up, or if you have any other concerns, contact us today.