Fortunately, most oral “sores” or “lesions” are not harmful. But a small number are dangerous, and if not identified early, they may progress to a more advanced stage. Oral cancer can be completely cured if it is detected early.
Oral cancer is a devastating disease when detected in its later stages. Late stage treatment usually involves major facial surgery with only half of such patients surviving past five years. Therefore, it is important to see your dentist regularly so that dangerous oral lesions can be detected at an early, easily curable stage.
Regular dental checkups, which include an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of both cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. A person may have a dangerous oral lesion and not be aware of it.
Because harmful oral lesions often look identical to those that are harmless, Dr. Davis cannot visually determine which lesions are troublesome. Only testing can do this.
Dr. Davis is now able to use a instrument called the “Identafi” which enables early detection therefore better treatment and better outcomes. More people are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. But surprisingly, research shows this increase is not due to the traditional risk factors of drinking, smoking, or using chewing tobacco.
Oral cancer is now being found in a younger population of men and women who don’t smoke or drink heavily. One reason for this increase in people under age 40 is due to exposure to the HPV-16 and HPV-18 viruses, known collectively as the human papillomavirus. The HPV virus can spread by intimate contact, including kissing. That is why the Centers for Disease Control recommends that all patients over the age of 17 be screened annually for oral cancer.
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer are often missed by the naked eye, especially in its early stages. The Identafi® uses a revolutionary light-wave technology that can help clinicians detect abnormalities that may lead to oral cancer, so that something can be done about it as soon as possible. Early detection means early treatment, and a cure rate of nearly 90%.