Each year in Australia people in all walks of life are diagnosed with oral cancer, and the incidence of this is increasing.  It is estimated that this year 4,631 new cases will be diagnosed.  Of those new cases diagnosed it is estimated that 1,016 will result in death. Alarmingly, in the past decade Australia has seen an increase of oral cancers of 33.7%, this translates to 8 oral cancers diagnosed and 2 deaths per week.

Some of the more widely known Risk Factors are, age, genetics, smoking, chewing tobacco, Alcohol consumption, sun exposure, HPV.

Males are at a greater risk than females.  Out of the estimated new cases this year 3,427 of them will be male, the remaining 1,204 will be female.

Early detection is the key for decreasing deaths associated with oral cancer.  It is therefore recommended to have an oral cancer screening done by your dentist once per year.  The exam itself takes only a few minutes and consists of the extra-oral exam and the intraoral exam.

The Extra-oral exam involves a visual check of the head and neck looking for any discolorations of skin, sores, and general symmetry of head and neck structures, as cancers are typically asymmetrical.  It also involves palpation of the glands in the neck, face, and around the ears.

The Intra-oral exam involves palpation of the floor of the mouth, inside the cheeks, as well as a visual inspection of the tongue, floor of mouth, cheeks, hard and soft palates, throat, and gums.

In addition to the above, we at Avenue Dental are introducing a new component to our Oral Cancer screen.  It is Fluorescence technology called Oral ID, which allows your dentist to shine a blue light that identifies abnormal lesions that may be oral cancers.