Oral Cancer Screenings & Oral Cancer Prevention

Oral Cancer

Even if you aren’t a smoker, oral cancer is not something to mess with. In fact, oral and throat cancer kill roughly one person every hour of every day. Yikes! And twice as many men are diagnosed with oral cancer than women. Double yikes! Check out the facts here.

A whopping 25% of those with oral cancer do not have any known risk factors like being a tobacco user – the cancer just appears without understood reason. Even more people do not have any initial symptoms to expose the cancer! So it’s no wonder that oral cancer is often discovered in later stages of its development, leaving the diagnosed with a lower survival rate. If found early on, oral cancer actually has an 80% chance or higher survival rate – meaning it can be beaten!

Causes of Oral Cancer

Many cases of oral cancer stem from prolonged tobacco and smokeless tobacco use. In addition, some cases are due to long-term alcohol use often in conjunction with tobacco. In more recent years, it was discovered that exposure to the HPV16 virus contributes to oral cancer. That’s why young adults and teens are suddenly more at risk.

Lastly, a very small percentage (< 7%) of oral cancer cases may be due to genetic predisposition. A handful of studies are still being done to render this statistic more accurate. Not as much is known about a genetic link to oral cancer, as well as oral cancer and children.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Start by regularly checking you lips, gums, and inner cheeks for color change, growth/swelling, or bumps. Indicators can be sores on lips or in the mouth, white or red patches in the mouth, changing voice, issues chewing and swallowing, swollen jaw, and even thickening gums. If you’re really worried, though, come in for an oral cancer screening today.

Treatments:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemo
  • Combination of the above treatments

When & How Often Should I Have Oral Cancer Screenings?

Mom and dad, get tested yearly. Because oral cancer is still primarily considered an adult disease, younger children may not need to be tested. Regrettably, more young people and young adults are contracting HPV16, a leading cause of oral cancer; therefore, screening may be necessary for this younger age group. Consult with your child’s pediatric dentist concerning whether your child is too young or old enough to consider an oral cancer screening.

Oral cancer awareness is important to control the rising number of diagnoses. Early detection could save your life. If you notice a few possible symptoms, call your local dentist for an examination. It never hurts to get tested yearly as a preemptive measure. The earlier the detection, the greater the chance of a cure. Don’t wait to see if you are safe – ask your local dentist about oral cancer screenings at your next check-up! Call us or request an appointment online today. Going to the dentist has never been easier or more fun!