Why is oral cancer so dangerous?
Oral cancer is a particularly deadly form of cancer with only a 50% survival rate over five years. It is not that oral cancer is particularly difficult to treat; it is mostly because we catch it in the later stages, making treatment more radical and lowering your life expectancy.
Several factors contribute to an increased likelihood of oral cancer. First, the use of tobacco or alcohol dramatically increases the chances you will develop oral cancer. Additionally, the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) also increases the risk of developing oral cancer. HPV is a virus contracted through sexual contact, causes cancer in the back of the throat, and may not show the typical discoloration that accompanies oral cancer.
Treatment for oral cancer can be particularly brutal and require reconstructive surgeries. In some cases, patient may lose part of their tongues, jaws, or face in order to try to eradicate the cancer. Patients may lose the ability to speak, smile, and eat properly.
Your dentist the person most likely to recognize the early signs of oral cancer and require a biopsy to rule it out. Dr. Grizzle knows what the pre-cancerous cells look like and performs an oral cancer screening on each of our patients at their exam.