February 15, 2017
You take great care to ensure your oral health. You brush and floss daily while maintaining your regular dental visits. However, you may be overlooking a serious aspect to preventive care that does not just impact your dental health, but your overall health as well. If you are not getting an oral cancer screening regularly, you may suffer the devastating consequences of a late diagnosis. As your dentist in South Hadley, we encourage you to have a screening regularly for early detection.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is categorized as cancers that occur in the head and neck; however, brain cancer is in a separate category. It is estimated, almost 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with an oral oropharyngeal cancer this year. Oral cancers are expected to cause nearly 10,000 deaths annually, which is equivalent to one person per hour. Of those diagnosed with an oral cancer, only 57% will survive longer than 5 years.
The long-term prognosis of the cancers is bleak due to late detection. Currently, there are no guidelines in place for regular screenings like those for other cancers. As a result, oral cancers usually are not detected until they have reached the later stages of development and even metastasized to other areas of the body.
Since the early stages of oral cancer often do not cause any noticeable or concerning symptoms to develop, the cancer goes undetected. However, with a regular cancer screening, we can detect cancerous and pre-cancerous cells early to provide a more promising outcome.
Oral Cancer Screenings
All too often, people do not get an oral cancer screening unless they have a reason to be concerned, such as if a questionable lesion appears in the mouth or they have risk factors for the cancers, like smoking. While there are various factors that increase your risk for oral cancer, the cancers can occur in anyone. A regular screening is vital for early detection, whether you have risk factors or not.
At Newton Street Dental, we offer oral cancer screenings as part of our preventive care. The screening is noninvasive and can quickly be performed at your regular preventive care appointment. We will perform the screening to look for cancerous and precancerous cells. If any questionable results appear, we will have the area biopsied and sent to the lab for analysis. More often than not, the biopsies come back as nothing too concerning; however, we always want to be on the safe side.
With the Oral Cancer Foundation stating that early diagnosis is vital to decreasing the number of annual death rates from the cancer, we encourage you to be screened regularly. With early detection and the right treatment, your long-term survival rate will significantly improve.
If you have not had an oral cancer screening regularly, we encourage you to call our office to schedule an appointment. We will quickly and painlessly perform the necessary screening to protect your oral and overall health at your next preventive appointment. Safeguard your health with an oral cancer screening.
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