Did you know over 48,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer yearly? Oral cancer is an aggressive form of cancer. Proper diagnosis early on allows a patient plenty of treatment methods to correctly treat oral cancer. April is oral health awareness month and it’s the perfect time to visit Arizona Periodontal Group for your oral cancer screening. Early detection of oral cancer can be life-saving. Here are some important things you need to know about oral cancer.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Heavy alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of oral cancer. Reducing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco can aid in decreasing the risk of oral cancer and other health issues. If you are concerned about oral cancer, it is important to contact your dentist right away. Here are some of the common symptoms that indicate oral cancer:
- Bleeding sores in the mouth or sores that do not heal
- Hard spots or lumps in the mouth
- Crusted or roughened areas
- Pain, tenderness, and numbness in the mouth
- Alignment changes
Early Detection Increases Survival Rates
When dental patients undergo early screenings for oral cancer, survival rates increase from 80 to 90 percent. The American Dental Association recommends dental patients receive two routine dental examinations yearly to aid in the prevention of oral cancer. Routine dental cleanings and examinations are the first line of defense in identifying warning signs of oral cancer.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is typically diagnosed during a dental examination. A visual inspection of the mouth, head, and neck are performed by the dentist. The dentist will feel for lumps and can use technology to search for suspicious cells. Once diagnosed with oral cancer, patients will need proper treatment for their condition. Some patients will need surgery while others will need radiation or a combination of both. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to increase survival rates.
Preventing Oral Cancer
Visiting your dentist twice a year for cleanings and examinations can go a long way in the prevention of oral cancer. Dental patients can help to prevent oral cancer by doing periodic self-examinations of the neck, face, cheeks, and jaw to look for problems. If your health history shows a risk of cancer, it is important to contact your dentist immediately to schedule an examination. To learn more about oral cancer and to schedule your examination with Dr Trujillo, call our office today.