Oral Cancer Screenings... What Should You Know?
All About Oral Cancer Screenings
Preventative health care check-ups such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and prostate exams, are highly important in detecting anything irregular—including cancer. The goal is to find out if something is going on as early as possible in order to get proper treatment. Essentially, these exams are saving lives. The same goes for oral cancer screenings.
Some might find that a regular oral cancer screening isn’t as detrimental as other preventative health care exams. Your six month check up isn’t just to see if you have cavities; it could literally save your life.
Oral Cancer: The Truth
With 100 new cases everyday in the U.S., the yearly average of people diagnosed with oral cancer reaches 400,000. Even more concerning is the fact that only half of these people will survive past 5 years from diagnosis.
While this news is certainly frightening, there is some good news: Survival rate is boosted 80 to 90 percent with early detection. Oral cancer is considered deadly because many patients receive their diagnosis later, after their cancer has had the chance to progress. Raising awareness about oral cancer and the importance of regular screenings is aimed at preventing this from happening.
Higher Risk Linked to Lifestyle Choices
There are certain lifestyle choices that may put someone at higher risk of getting diagnosed with oral cancer.
Here are some risk factors:
- Tobacco—you are three times more likely to develop oral cancer with smoking or other tobacco use.
- Age—2/3rds of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55
- UV Exposure—the risk of lip cancer is higher when you get frequent and lengthy bouts of sunlight.
- Alcohol Consumption—doubling the risk of oral cancer is linked to drinking alcohol.
Even if these risk factors do not apply to you, you are still at risk if you have HPV, or human papillomavirus. Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer. That’s even more likely than tobacco users!
Get Regular Cleanings
A canker sore or tender cheeks after accidentally biting it are both examples of common mouth sores. It’s important to remember that oral cancer starts as a painless sore that doesn’t go away. If any of these symptoms are familiar, come see us as soon as possible:
- Thickening of the cheek, or a lump
- White or red patch in the inner mouth or throat
- A sore that doesn’t heal within 2 weeks
- Difficulties swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw
The best preventative measure is to get regular oral cancer screenings. Dental professionals will be able to discover any abnormalities you may have.
Ask about an oral health screening at your next check up! You can also call to set up a screening. We want your teeth to last a lifetime!
Thanks for putting your trust in us!