Madison No Fear Dentistry

Your Health / 

Oral Cancer

Feels less like a sterile dentist office and more like a family friendly environment. Love the staff. -Derrick

A semi-annual oral cancer screening needs to become routine in managing your overall health.  We genuinely care about your well-being so we offer complimentary screenings during your exam.  According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 36,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, and only half of those patients are alive in 5 years.  One person dies every hour from oral cancer.  When discovered in the early stages, the oral cancer survival rate increases to 80% - 90%.

Oral cancer most commonly involves the lips or the tongue.  However, it may also occur on the cheek lining, floor of the mouth, gums, or roof of the mouth.  It can appear as a sore, a lump, or an ulcer in the mouth that may be a deep, hard-edged crack in the tissue most often pale colored, but may be dark or discolored.  It is usually painless at first, but may develop into a burning sensation or pain as the tumor advances. Early detection of oral cancer is the best preventative option in treatment.   

Some symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Painful chewing
  •  Mouth sores
  • Loose teeth
  • White or red patches anywhere in your mouth
  • Pain or difficulty with swallowing
  • Speech difficulties  
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tongue pain
  • Weight loss
  • Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Sore throat

Oral HPV and Oral Cancer

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is one of the most common virus groups in the world.   The health risk varies depending on the type of the virus.  Symptoms range from a low-risk HPV causing skin lesions such as warts to a high risk HPV infection that may lead to cancer.  The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 20 million people in the United States are infected with HPV, and there are approximately 6 million new cases each year.   

HPV can go undetected in many individuals and is one of the major causes of oral cancer.  OralDNA® Labs provides a HPV screening which helps to identity individuals that are at a higher risk for HPV-related oral cancers. This test is extremely useful to our doctors because it can help them identify which patients pose a higher risk for oral cancer and thus aid in early detection and possible prevention of the disease. This means that patients have a 90% cure rate if the cancer is found early versus only a 25% survival rate if diagnosis and treatment are delayed.