Oral Cancer: Early detection Is Key to High Chance of Survival

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Dr. Jonathan Richter DDS, FAGD

When it comes to cancer, early detection and treatment often make a difference in terms of survival. In the U.S., oral cancer accounts for 3 percent of all cancers and nearly 2 percent of all cancer-related deaths. Early detection and treatment can dramatically increase the chances of survival in patients.

Oral cancer is often ignored, and detection of oral lesions are often overlooked by the dental professionals and patients that do not frequent the dentist. More than 50 percent of all oral cancer detection is done at the later stages and thus the treatments become more aggressive. Chances of survival drop dramatically once the cancer has spread. Localized cancer detection accounts for an 83 percent chance of survival in contrast to a 38 percent chance once the cancer has spread.

Research has shown that in the U.S. not enough emphasis is placed on early detection of oral cancer. Only a small number of Americans report being examined yearly for signs of oral lesions. Presently, early detection can be accomplished by requesting your dental professional for an oral cancer screening at least once a year.

Using the VELscope Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System, dental professionals can incorporate an early detection of oral cancer into their oral examinations. This noninvasive device can aid in the early detection of oral lesions, which leads to early treatment and thus higher chances of survival. The tool highlights any abnormalities within the oral tissue that can be useful in the early discovery of a potential life-threatening condition.

How to ensure early detection:

Visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and oral checkups.

Request an oral cancer screening at least once a year from your dental professional.

Although there is no way to prevent the occurrence of oral cancer, you can avoid the primary risk factors of oral cancer (tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption) in order to minimize your risk.

Source: Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cariodontal (310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310 or visit Cariodontal.com

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