Oral cancer is not the most common type of cancer, but it is still much more common than you might think. In fact, in North America, someone dies every hour from oral cancer. The survival rate is 50% after 5 years, and oral cancer differs from other malignancies in that the survival rate has not improved in recent years.
The good news though, is that if it is caught in its early stages, oral cancer is very treatable. Your best way of catching oral cancer is by means of regular dental checkups that include oral cancer screenings, which is what we offer at Trail Ridge Dental.
Oral cancer can be present on your tongue, lips, roof and floor of your mouth, and the insides of your cheeks. Symptoms can include white or red patches, unusual bleeding, sores that do not heal, thickening or lumps, a mass in your neck or pain in your ear. Of course, if you are coughing up blood, this is a red flag not just for oral cancer, but for other types as well.
Anyone can develop oral cancer, but the most common risk factors are:
- Tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco)
- Excessive alcohol use
- Age (most cases occur in people who are 40 or older)
- A diet that is low, or even totally lacking, in fruits and vegetables
- Persistent viral infections
Needless to say, finding out that you have oral cancer can be devastating, but it is far more devastating if you have it and you do not find out.
When you visit us at Trail Ridge Dental, Dr. Visger will examine your mouth to determine if there are any abnormalities. If there are, he will order a biopsy. Most of the time, biopsies come back negative – Dr. Visger stumbles on the side of caution. If the biopsy does come back positive, Dr. Visger can recommend a course of treatment that could save your life.
Preventative dentistry treatments like oral cancer screening can prevent the need for expensive treatments later on, and ensure that you enjoy good dental health for years to come. To arrange a dental checkup that includes oral cancer screening, contact us at Trail Ridge Dental. You can reach us by phone at 303-772-6960. Alternatively, you can also use the form on our Contact Us page. On the day of your appointment, you can find us at 1720 Duchess Drive, Longmont, CO 80501.