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What Is the Outlook for People With Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancer in the world.

The survival rate of the end of 1 year with all stages of oral cancer and pharyngeal cancer is 81%. The survival rate at the end of 5 and 10 years are 56% and 41% respectively. 

How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

Oral cancer screening is a part of any routine dental checkup. Any lumps or irregular tissue changes in the head and neck are always examined for by the dentist to detect changes for cancer. Dental examination will be also be done to detect sores, discolourations and any other symptoms pertaining for oral cancer.

Biopsy of a suspicious site is usually indicated to diagnose cancer.There are various types of biopsy methods, and the doctor performs the most appropriate method. Many doctors do not prefer brush biopsies

even though it is very easy. They would need a scalpel biopsy to confirm the results if the brush biopsy is positive. Also there are various kinds of scalpel biopsies, incisional and excisional, depending on whether only a piece or the whole area is needed to understand what the nature of the problem is. Some doctors prefer performing biopsy with lasers.

What Can I Do to Prevent Oral Cancer?

To prevent oral cancer:

  • · Avoid smoking, tobacco products and alcohol consumption.
  • · Intake of a well-balanced diet is essential.
  • · Exposure to sunlight must be limited. Increased exposure surges the risk of cancer on the lip, especially the lower lip. It is advised to use a sun protection lotion whenever being exposed to the sun.


Early detection of oral cancer can be done in the following ways:

  • · Conduct a self-exam at least once a month. Using a bright light source and a mirror, look and feel your lips your gums. Next, slant your head backwards and look at and feel the roof (topmost) of your mouth. Move your cheek out of view, and examine inside your mouth, the covering of your cheeks, and the back region of the gums. Examine all the surfaces of the tongue also the floor of the tongue. Look at the back of your throat. Identify for any lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in both sides of your neck and under your lower jaw. If any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above is noted, kindly report to the dentist
  • · See your dentist on a regular schedule. Even though you may be conducting frequent self exams, certain dangerous spots or sores in the mouth can be very small and difficult to be identified on your own.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40.Prevention is better than cure, so is early detection.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on February 20, 2017
source: WebMD