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The Stages of Oral Cancer – Importance of Early Detection

Oral cancer happens. It’s sometimes unpredictable, it follows very few rules, and its consequences can be catastrophic. Still, when we can catch it right where it starts and treat it correctly, there is a greater chance that it won’t take your life. That’s why you owe it to yourself to get to a Scottsbluff NE dentist at least two times each year to be screened for signs of the disease.

Early detection is essential to reduce the mortality rate of oral cancer, and understanding the stages of its progression helps to shed light on the reason why:

Stage 0, known as carcinoma in situ, describes cancer that is found in the top layer of the skin and has not spread deeper into the body. Virtually all patients who receive treatment during this stage can expect to survive. The treatment generally involves the removal of the diseased tissue, followed by regularly scheduled monitoring. Carcinoma in situ can spread throughout the body if it is not removed immediately.

Stages I and II will likely involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. These forms of therapy have been found to be successful, although their side-effects may lead to a change in your appearance, or your speaking and swallowing ability.

Stages III and IV describes cancers that have spread to the upper lymph nodes. These advanced stages often require a combination of two or three treatment methods, including the surgical removal of the lymph nodes in the neck. Late stage cancers that have been detected in the lymph nodes are more difficult to treat and more likely to spread rapidly throughout the rest of the body.

Spotting a cancerous lesion in the mouth or throat can be difficult. By the time that most oral cancers are visible, they will require immediate testing and treatment. That’s what makes routine checkups so valuable and early detection so vital.

Contact a Scottsbluff dental office today to schedule your screening.