Oral Cancer by the Numbers

Author: Dr. David Dickerhoff, DDS, MAGD, FOCOI

This is the American Dental Association’s National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. My guess is that the following numbers are going to astound you. But here we go…

  • The number of NEW oral cancer cases in 2017: 49,670
  • The number of oral cancer related deaths in 2017: 9,700
  • The number of people diagnosed with oral cancer EACH year: 11.2% per 100,00
  • The median age of diagnosis: 63
  • The median age of death after diagnosis: 67
  • The percentage of all cancer cases that are oral cancer: 2.9%

Dentists are trained to know the normal dental and oral anatomy. We routinely screen for any anatomy abnormalities. Most oral cancers start out being asymptomatic and are usually, when pointed out, a new finding to patients. This speaks to the need for routine dental cleanings and examinations for all patients.

Spring Lake Dental Group is equipped with Polaris (intra-oral digital photography) that allows us to capture and follow any anatomic abnormalities. Most abnormalities usually occur from trauma related incidents but need to be treated and monitored.

We also use a computer-assisted analysis called OralCDx, which is an oral brush biopsy that gives us a statistical analysis as to whether a lesion needs to be further looked at through either incisional or excisional biopsy. This means taking a piece or all of the lesion and looking at it under a microscope to determine an exact diagnosis. We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, are trained and capable of using the latest biopsy techniques, including laser removal of a lesion in order to determine diagnosis.

Preventative care is the cornerstone of our practice. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have regarding your oral health. Call us at 910-497-3200 or schedule your next visit!