April 30, 2019
When you think about issues that harm the health of your smile, tooth decay and gum disease often come to mind. Did you know there’s a bigger danger to your oral and general health that may be lingering in your mouth? According to the American Cancer Society, 53,000 people this year will be diagnosed with oral cancer. Sadly, nearly 11,000 people will also die. The long-term survival rate of oral cancer is bleak because it often isn’t diagnosed until it has reached advanced stages or spread to other areas of your body. It’s estimated 80% of new oral cancer cases can be diagnosed by a dentist through a routine screening. Next time you visit your dentist in South Hadley for a cleaning and checkup, ask them about an oral cancer screening to look for the early signs of mouth cancer.
Spotting the Early Signs of Mouth Cancer
The National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research estimates only half of the Americans diagnosed with oral cancer survive after 5 years. This is most often from late detection. It’s not widely known that oral cancer screenings are available at your dentist or you even need one, but they are influential in spotting early signs of the disease.
Oral cancer is classified as those that affect the head and neck; however, brain cancer is in a separate category. This means it can occur in other areas other than the inside of your mouth. It can also include the lips, throat, salivary glands, sinuses, larynx, and pharynx.
Your dentist performs a comprehensive examination during your routine visit to detect potentially cancerous or precancerous cells. If you develop any suspicious areas in between your appointment, don’t wait to contact our dentist. This can include:
- Sores, swelling, lumps, or thick patches in or near the mouth.
- Red or white lesions in or near the mouth.
- A sensation that something is stuck in your throat, like a lump.
- Swelling in the mouth.
- Numbness, pain, or tenderness anywhere in the mouth.
- Pain in one of your ears.
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue.
- Problems chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
- Loose teeth with no obvious cause.
- Lingering hoarseness or sore throat.
Am I at Risk of Oral Cancer?
Everyone should have an oral cancer screening, no matter their age, gender, or ethnicity. Although it can occur in anyone, there are certain factors that increase your risk, such as using tobacco. In fact, the Mouth Cancer Foundation reports 90% of those diagnosed use tobacco. The risk further increases if you also consume alcohol.
Dentist Near Me for a Screening
If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, don’t forget to ask your dentist about an oral cancer screening. The quick, painless examination is key to early detection.
About Newton Street Dental
Newton Street Dental is committed to improving the oral and general health of our patients through high-quality dental care. Our focus on prevention allows us to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. Besides cleanings and checkups, we also offer routine oral cancer screenings. If it’s time for your next preventive visit, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
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