Early detection is extremely important with any cancer diagnosis, and this is true for oral cancer. Oral cancer certainly can be life-threatening, but the earlier it is diagnosed, the chances for a patient’s survival increases. Currently, only around 60% of oral cancer patients will survive past the first five years after diagnosis, but 80-90% of oral cancer patients who are diagnosed in the early stages will survive, which is very good news! Dental professionals are oftentimes the first line of defense against oral cancer. We are trained and educated to identify suspicious areas of the mouth that appear to be in the early stages of oral cancer. The first signs of oral cancer can sometimes mimic a canker sore, and appear as a white or red spot in the mouth. The first obvious difference between oral cancer and a common mouth sore is healing time. Cancer inhibits a person’s immune system and prevents the sore from healing quickly. If you ever have a mouth sore that is not healing quickly, please let us know.