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Oral cancer screening


Approximately 3 Australians are diagnosed with oral cancer every day [2] and over 600 die from it every year [1].

Oral cancer is a condition that very few people are aware of and as a result it is often not detected until it is too late.

  • Oral cancer usually starts in the cells lining the mouth, lips, tongue or floor of the mouth; it can also occur on the palate, gums and cheeks.

  • It is not generally screened for routinely so discovery is generally in late stages – there is no screening program in place as for cervical or breast cancer.

  • Three Australians are diagnosed with oral cancer every day. [2]

  • The death rate is higher for oral cancer than other cancers due to late detection [3]

  • Only 51% of patients diagnosed with oral cancer are still living after 5 years [4]


What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

A persistent mass, ulcer or blood blister that doesn’t heal, impaired tongue mobility, swollen lymph glands. There is often no obvious pain.

The risk factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking (smokers are six times more at risk than non smokers)

  • Drinking alcohol (heavy drinking)

  • An increased exposure to the sun of your lips

  • A poor diet

  • The human papilloma virus.

To help avoid late detection of this disease, you should have regular checkups by a dentist or hygienist who is aware of the symptoms and includes oral cancer in their checkups.

At Lotus Dental

At Lotus Dental we routinely carry out oral cancer screening as part of your regular check up and preventative care.

1. “Rates of Oral Cancer Increasing” – Australian Dental Association Inc, 2012

2. Australian Dentist Association 2017 article

3. “Detecting Oral Cancer – Oral Care Facts” – Miller Hare

4. “Cancer” – Colgate Dental Programs – University of Adelaide.  A joint program by Colgate Oral Care and The University of Adelaide

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