Oral Cancer

Your SmilesRForever dentist has good news about progress against
cancer. It is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the
opportunity for effective treatment is greatest. Only half of all
patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years.

Your
SmilesRForever dentist has the skills and tools to ensure that early
signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. You and
your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. Know the
early signs and see your dentist regularly.

Oral cancer screening
is a routine part of a dental examination. Regular check-ups, including
an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection
of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. You may have a very small,
but dangerous, oral spot or sore and not be aware of it. Your dentist
will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue and in some
patients may notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore.
Although most of these are harmless, some are not. Harmful oral spots
or sores often look identical to those that are harmless, but testing
can tell them apart. If you have a sore with a likely cause, your
dentist may treat it and ask you to return for re-examination.

Dentists
can often notice a spot or sore that looks harmless and does not have a
clear cause. To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your
dentist may choose to perform a simple test, such as a BrushTest. As
powerful as a pap smear, which detects abnormal cells in women, a
BrushTest collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth. The
cells are sent to a laboratory for analysis. If precancerous cells are
found, the lesion can be surgically removed if necessary during a
separate procedure. It’s important to know that all atypical and
positive results from a BrushTest must be confirmed by incisional biopsy
and histology.

Although methods of early detection are
continuously improving, great importance still lies with prevention. The
following are a list of recommendations for both prevention and early
detection of oral cancer:

  • The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Regular
    dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are
    essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous
    conditions.
  • Many types of abnormal cells can develop in the oral
    cavity in the form of red or white spots. Some are harmless and benign,
    some are cancerous and others are pre-cancerous, meaning they can
    develop into cancer if not detected early and removed.
  • Finding
    and removing epithelial dysplasias before they become cancer can be one
    of the most effective methods for reducing the incidence and mortality
    of cancer.
  • Knowing the risk factors and seeing your dentist for
    oral cancer screenings can help prevent this deadly disease. Routine use
    of the Pap smear since 1955, for example, dramatically reduced the
    incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer in the United States.
  • Similarly,
    use of colonoscopy now makes it possible to detect dysplastic polyps
    years before they can turn into colon cancer and is contributing to
    falling rates of mortality for the disease.
  • Oral cancer is often
    preceded by the presence of clinically identifiable premalignant
    changes. These lesions may present as either white or red patches or
    spots. Identifying white and red spots that show dysplasia and removing
    them before they become cancer is an effective method for reducing the
    incidence and mortality of cancer.

Visit your SmilesRForever
dentist at least twice a year for biannual cleanings; an oral cancer
screening will be performed at each of these appointments. Together you
and your SmilesRForever dentist can work to prevent and detect oral
cancer.

2017-02-20T14:07:05+00:00