Oral Cancer Exam
Oral Cancer Facts
1. 41,000 people in the US are diagnosed yearly with oral cancer.
2. There are approximately 12,000 deaths per year from oral cancer.
3. 66% of those diagnosed with oral cancer have a disease that was found at a late stage (stage III or IV) when treatment is more difficult.
4. The traditional risk factors for oral cancer include excessive alcohol and tobacco use.
5. Oral HPV infection is strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancer among subjects with or without established risk factors of tobacco and alcohol use.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 41,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, with over 12,000 of these cases resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam provided by Dr. Drake. If caught early, oral cancer can be effectively treated.
Oral cancer is a pathologic process, which begins by producing no symptoms making it hard to recognize without an exam. There are many types of oral cancer, including teratoma, adenocarcinoma, and melanoma. The most common form of oral cancer is malignant squamous cell carcinoma, which typically originates in the lip and mouth tissue. There are many other places in which oral cancers occur, including the tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums, and face.
What to Expect
The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Dr. Drake will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers may be used to highlight pathologic changes, and can “look” below the surface for spots and legions invisible to the naked eye. Some of the signs that will be investigated are red patches and sores. Red patches on the floor of the mouth, or the front of the tongue, and bleeding sores that fail to heal easier, can be indicative of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth, and may be cancerous. Signs of these will be examined as well. Finally, soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathologic signs and will be examined.
If abnormalities, lesions, lumps, or leukoplakia are apparent, Dr. Drake will implement a treatment plan that is right for you. Treatment options vary according to the precise diagnosis but may include: excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
It is also important to note that over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption. Dr. Drake can provide you with literature and options about quitting dangerous behaviors such as tobacco use.