Detecting Oral Cancer Early

When I was in dental school, I don’t think they told me I would see that much oral cancer in my practicing career, but the incidence rate is on the rise,” said Dr. Gatgens, who’s been practicing for about 10 years. “We can really change the outcome of someone’s life. That’s an important, powerful message. It’s our duty to make sure we’re advocates in letting people know the risks and what’s going on out there.

While screening devices are a helpful tool, visual and palpation exams are just as beneficial—and should be performed on every patient at least once a year, said Brian Hill, stage IV oral cancer survivor and Founder/Executive Director of The Oral Cancer Foundation. These exams add about five minutes to the appointment, but that five minutes could be a lifesaver.