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Oral Cancer

Oral and pharyngeal cancer accounts for 3% to 5% of all cancers. One person will die from oral cancer every hour in the US.  There are several indications of oral cancer which are as follows:

  • A sore in the mouth that does not heal within three weeks
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • White or red patches on the gums, tongue, or mouth lining
  • Soreness or a feeling of something interfering in the throat
  • Trouble swallowing and chewing
  • Trouble moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness within the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw

90% of oral cancers derive from squamous cell carcinoma and tend to occur on the floor of the mouth or undersurface of the tongue as seen in the picture to the right.  Some of the leading causes of oral cancer are tobacco use, alcohol, age, and HPV.  Use of tobacco and alcohol for extensive periods of time contributes significantly to the development of squamous cell carcinoma and these individuals are fifteen times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Tobacco is a carcinogen and it damages DNA first causing the growth of malignant cellular masses and alcohol will inhibit the body defenses from naturally fighting these malignancies.  Age is also a major factor which plays a role with the risks of oral cancer.  Individuals over the age of 40 have a less competent immune system and therefore will be less able to eliminate mutated cells.  HPV has also been found to increase the possibilities of obtaining oral cancer since it is contracted by oral sexual contact.

Oral cancer can be detected by performing ViziLite.  ViziLite causes squamous cell carcinoma lesions to fluoresce and helps the trained clinician to spot the lesions early and detect oral cancer.  As seen in the picture, this light illuminates lesions beyond the surface which would otherwise be undetected by the naked eye.  A doctor would clearly see the blue marks from the TBlue dye showing any oral cancer traces.  7 Day Dental offers ViziLite and it is a 5 min procedure that is painless and extremely effective.