The Importance of the Oral Cancer Exam
Oral cancer is diagnosed in 30,000 people every year. Out of these, 8,000 will die. If oral cancer is detected early, it has a high cure rate. However, once it grows undetected more that 1 centimeter in size it has a poor prognosis. This is why it is important to have regular dental check ups. It may not only save your teeth - It may save your life! Here are the most common warning signs of oral cancer:
• Pain, tenderness, or numbness in your mouth for no apparent reason
• A lump, crust, ulceration, or rough spot that persists more that two weeks
• Red or white colored sores or patches in your mouth
• Trouble chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue or jaw
If we detect a suspicious sore or lesion, we have a new test we can use called ORALCDX . This is a painless and easy brush biopsy test that Dr.MacKnight can do without delay. He simply brushes the cells from the suspicious site and puts them on a special microscope slide. The slide is sent to a lab where an elaborate computer reads it and notifies us if there are any cancerous or pre-cancerous cells. The most common risk factors in oral cancer are tobacco use (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff) and alcohol. However, you can get a cancerous lesion even without a history of these. Please call our office if you haven't been checked lately. It could save your life!