Oral cancer screenings consist of a physical and visual exam of a patient’s mouth and surrounding tissues. When it comes to oral cancer survival rates, two numbers are key: 40% and 90%. 40% of those who receive a late-stage diagnosis die within five years. However, the survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.
Oral Cavity and Oropharynx—Mouth and Throat
Cancers that originate in the mouth (oral cavity) are labeled oral cancers. The oral cavity is comprised of the inside tissue of the mouth and cheeks, the lips, the tissue below the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the front two-thirds of the tongue.
“Why only two-thirds of the tongue?” you might ask. Fair question. The answer is that the back third of the tongue is considered part of the throat.
Throat cancers, or oropharyngeal cancers, start in the oropharynx, the part of the mouth behind the parts considered part of the oral cavity. The oropharynx consists of the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat.
How Are Oral Cancers Diagnosed?
Some oral cancers produce symptoms that prompt the patient to see a doctor. Others are found by dentists and doctors during exams. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more people received regular screenings.
A visual oral cancer exam is relatively quick and convenient compared to other cancer screening tests. If an abnormality is discovered, the patient is referred to an appropriate specialist for further testing and diagnosis.
Be proactive. Ask Stewart & Hull Aesthetic Dentistry in Comstock Park about an oral cancer screening. We use the non-invasive VELscope as an aid in finding oral abnormalities. We also provide general and family dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.
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