An examination of data gathered over an 11-year period led to one conclusion: dentists are detecting more cases of oral cancer and pre-cancer than ever before—and it’s saving lives.
More comprehensive training and continuing education programs for oral health professionals may be behind the dramatic rise in detection rates. While advanced oral cancers are fairly easy to detect, premalignant lesions and early cancer can be easy to miss without specialized training. Early detection of oral cancers, meanwhile, is critical to survival rates.
Oral cancer survival rates have remained steady over the past several decades. Yet, treated in its early stages, patients with oral cancer have the highest survival rates—around 80 percent over five years. That statistic drops to approximately 30 percent over five years when the cancer is detected at an advanced stage.
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