Oral Cancer is on the rise and if caught early, is treatable. Often oral cancer is asymptomatic and if noticed later in the progression, is often fatal- make sure you see your dentist 2x a year, so that this important examination can be performed. Though there are some risk factors for oral cancer that cannot be prevented, such as family history and genetics, there are steps you can take to greatly reduce your risk of oral cancer. When you visit Tucson dentist Dr. Robert C. Brei, you’ll receive a thorough cleaning as well as an oral cancer screening.
Oral Cancer Facts
Close to 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Of those 43,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) If oral cancer is left un-diagnosed, it is often only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms they might readily recognize. In addition, oral cancer has a high risk of producing additional tumors. This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease, have up to a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer. There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90% are squamous cell carcinomas.
How Dr. Brei Performs Oral Cancer Exams
At our office, oral cancer prevention exams are performed on every patient. Dr. Brei and his highly trained hygienist begin the exam by checking the top, bottom, and lateral borders of the tongue. Next, Dr. Brei will look at the palate hard and soft for any unusual lesions. Major salivary glands are palpated to make sure they don’t have any masses in them. Dr. Brei will also check the lymph nodes under the angle of the jaw and down the neck bilaterally. If Dr. Brei does suspect that you have a cancerous growth, it is important to have a firm diagnosis as early as possible. It is possible that he may refer you to a specialist to have a biopsy performed. This is not cause for alarm, but a normal part of referring that happens between doctors of different specialties. Dr. Brei feels that this screening is one of the most important exams he performs on a daily basis, and he is extremely experienced and knowledgeable about treatment.
Robert C. Brei, DDS has been voted Top Dentist in Tucson by his peers for many years in a row. Call our dental offices at (520) 325-9000 to learn about the dental services we offer for you and your family. Dr. Brei is friendly, dedicated, and experienced dentist committed to giving you the best care possible.