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Oral Cancer Screenings and How Detection is Key for Lifesaving Treatment

As your trusted oral health partners, the team at Nevada OMS wants to emphasize the life-saving importance of oral cancer screenings. While only accounting for about 3% of all cancers diagnosed each year in the United States, oral and oropharyngeal cancers remain devastating if not identified early through routine exams and tests. 

Over 50,000 Americans will unfortunately be newly impacted by these diseases annually according to the American Cancer Society. 

However, when pre-cancerous and malignant growths are detected while still localized to the mouth and throat area, a 5-year survival rate exceeding 80% becomes highly achievable through methods like surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. 

Early-stage diagnosis truly means the difference between effective treatment and a preventable loss of life or function. That’s why annual screenings by experienced dentists are strongly recommended particularly for those engaging in risky habits.

Some major risk factors for oral cancer development involve prolonged exposure to carcinogens such as:

– Smoking tobacco or chewing smokeless varieties daily for many years 

– Heavy alcohol intake exceeding 3 drinks per day 

– Older age (over 40), male gender 

– Certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) are transmitted sexually

– Prolonged sun exposure damaging lips 

At Nevada OMS, full oral screenings happen during routine cleanings and exams. Our surgeons carefully inspect accessible soft tissues inside the mouth, tongue, and throat using bright lights and gloved hands palpation. Questionable lesions detected through abnormal appearance, size, texture, or failures to heal receive closer evaluation with tools like brush biopsies and veloscopy offering powerful magnification. 

Reflective light enables comprehensive mucosal assessments including marginal areas behind remaining teeth that can harbor pre-malignancies. Any suspicious sores suspected of being precancerous or cancerous based on defined clinical/histological criteria undergo minimally invasive tissue collection for pathological analysis under a microscope.

When caught earliest as carcinoma in situ or Stage I lesions, successful treatment remains quite straightforward in many cases. Small, localized tumors confined to the epithelium or submucosa skin layers may often resolve non-surgically through therapies such as:

– Laser ablation/surgery precisely eliminating malignant cells

– Photodynamic treatment activating light-activated chemicals destroying cancerous targets 

– Immunotherapy boosts the immune system’s ability to clear abnormal cells

However, neglecting potential signs or delaying screening allows for further progression when treatment grows more complex. Our goal involves preventing this hardship through diligent annual exams, risk-reducing lifestyle coaching, and specialized care to detect any early changes right away before the prognosis worsens.  

As care partners invest in whole-person well-being, the compassionate team at Nevada OMS welcomes discussing personalized risks, symptoms management, or establishing long-term screening plans to empower continuous vigilance against oral cancers through proactive measures. 

Your quality of life, like all patients, remains our top priority. Please contact us regarding screening or valuable resources for disease prevention or navigation.