“In the United States an estimated 36,450 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity are diagnosed annually.” Nearly 7,880 die of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx each year.” To date, the traditional known causes of oral cancer have been tobacco and alcohol use, but lately an increased incidence of oropharyngeal cancer is due to HPV, human papillomavirus. This additional risk factor, is changing the demography of the population being affected. The Symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer are different, which makes it difficult for patients to identify the problem. Stage I carcinomas have the best prognosis and treatment results, compared with Stages II, III and IV. This is why it is important for everyone to have a routine oral exam that will allow the clinician to catch signs of mucosal changes that may develop into oral cancer — before they do. Sometimes this oral cancer exam may include an adjunctive screening aid, that will help to emphasize the presence of muco-gingival changes in the patient’s mouth. More awareness to this problem, will help patients’ reconsider making changes to their behavior or habits. In conclusion, it is better to have routine exams of the oral cavity, than to face a long, painful and costly cancer and reconstructive treatment.
Source: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Surgical Update – Oral Cancer, Approaches to Screening Diagnosis, and Treatment
D.D.S. Mentor Ohio Dentist