The American Cancer Society estimates that oral cancer strikes tens of thousands of Americans each year. Only about 56 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive more than five years.
The reason these statistics are so grim is that oral cancer is often detected in its later stages. But when it's detected early, before the disease spreads to destroy healthy tissue, the chances of survival are greatly improved.
How do we detect oral cancer?
Because early detection is vital to surviving oral cancer, we will perform a thorough oral cancer screening once a year with Vizilite.
Vizilite rinse in combination with a conventional visual exam has been proven successful in identifying precancerous abnormalities. Vizilite can detect changes in cellular growth to a depth of 20 cell layers. Visual examination alone only allows us to check the superficial layer of cells.
What you can do?
Come see us at least twice a year for your regular checkups, and let us know if you notice any of these warning signs: a sore throat that does not heal or that bleeds easily; a red, white, or otherwise discolored patch or lump in or around your mouth; an area that seems to have thickened, raised, or become hardened; a rough patch of tissue; difficulty chewing or swallowing; or a chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
It's vital that you not ignore a mouth sore just because it doesn't hurt. Most pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions are completely painless.
You can also minimize your chances of developing oral cancer by making some lifestyle changes. Don't smoke or use chewing tobacco, avoid excessive alcohol usage, and make sure you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day.
Dr Peggy Myers, DDS