Oral Cancer is a devastating disease when detected in its later stages; in the later stages it usually involves major surgery and has about a 50% success rate. Oral Cancer kills more people nationwide than either melanoma or cervical cancer.
Good News About Oral Cancer
But…when Oral Cancer is detected early by your dentist, the chances of a complete cure are highest (around 90%)! Regular dental checkups, which include an exam of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of both cancerous and precancerous lesions.
But some can contain abnormal cells and be potentially dangerous. It’s sometimes impossible to visually determine whether a sore or lesion is a problem. Thankfully, your dentist can perform a quick and painless test (called a brush biopsy) that can help to identify any lesions requiring further treatment from the harmless ones.
In the majority of cases the brush biopsy sample obtained will test normal, reassuring you and your dentist that the oral lesion does not contain cancerous or precancerous cells. You may need to be retested periodically if it persists or changes in appearance, however.
Because an oral lesion is often painless and can be located in an area of the mouth where you can’t see it, they typically can only be detected during a periodic oral exam by your dentist. Regular interval exams are necessary to detect any new oral lesions or changes to existing lesions.
Source: Oral CDX – OralScan Laboratories, Inc