No patient ever wants to think that cancer can happen to them. However, oral cancer is a very real disease for many dental patients. Approximately 40,000 patients are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. That’s two percent of all cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. Of the oral cancer cases diagnosed, approximately 60 percent of patients survive more than five years. Because early detection is key to survival, Dr. Adnan Saleem ensures that his Carrollton, TX, receive annual oral cancer screenings.
Detecting oral cancer early leads to more successful treatment. If the cancer is caught before it metastasizes and grows beyond the mouth, the survival rate is 83%, compared to only 36% of cases that are caught after it has spread to other areas of the body. The good news is that, because of tissue changes in the mouth, it is often possible to catch oral cancer early.
Some tissue changes can be spotted by the patient, while others can only be detected by the trained eye of a dentist. Patients may notice the following early signs of oral cancer that may raise their concern:
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In some cases, oral cancer can be detected by a dentist before the patient notices any of the above symptoms. Dr. Adnan performs a visual exam of the tissue in each patient’s mouth every year. If tissue changes are detected or if anything looks suspicious, the tissue may be biopsied. A biopsy involves removing a small amount of tissue and sending it to a laboratory to determine if is cancerous. In many cases, the biopsy shows no signs of oral cancer. However, if it is positive, patients will work with their doctors and dentist to determine the right course for treatment. Your oral health is important and while keeping your mouth free from cavities is a key part of dental health, so is early cancer detection. For more information or to learn more about annual checkups and oral cancer screenings, call the Hebron Smiles office at (972) 388-3320.