Three Goals of Screening for Oral Cancer

oral cancer screeningOral Cancer is an ideal cancer to identify by screening.  Oral Cancers are frequently preceded by a precancerous phase that can be detected, diagnosed and removed before they convert to a full blow cancer (usually a 2-8 year period).  The difference between detecting Oral Cancers early and later is usually the difference between life and death.  In our dental office we try to educate our patient population and community the 3 major benefits of screening for oral cancer.


  • Tobacco and Alcohol remain #1 risk factors
  • Trends reveal that younger non smokers developing oral cancer, attributed to HPV’s roll in Oral Cancer
  • Most People do not get screened for Oral Cancer – small % of people receive Oral Cancer exam annually


  • Early Detection is key:
    • Pre-Cancer
      • when lesions are detected as a precancerous spot or bump it can be monitored or removed
      • Local Lesion
        • If tumor/lesion is local only when detected – 82% 5yr survival
  • Late Detection (66% of oral cancers are founds in the stages below)
    • Regional spread of Lesion
      • If tumor/lesion is regional when found -53% survival
      • Organ Involvement spread of Lesion
        • If tumor/lesion spreads to involve an organ when found – 28% survival


  • Reducing exposure to risk factors:
    • Limit alcohol
    • Stop tobacco use
    • Limit Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) contact and consider vaccination
    • Eliminate excessive UV sun exposure to lips
    • Treat acid reflux
  • Proactive health choices:
    • 5 Fruits/daily,
    • Seeing a dentist for screening annually

Check out our video on the Oral Cancer Exam: YouTube Preview Image

greensboro dentistToday’s post was written personally by Drs. David and Janna Civils. Do you have a question for either Dr. David or Dr. Janna?  We would love to hear from you!

Drs. David and Janna Civils

1114 Magnolia Street 
Greensboro, NC

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One Response to Three Goals of Screening for Oral Cancer

  1. The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, however I really thought you’d have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren’t too busy searching for attention.

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