Oral Cancer Screenings and What They Mean To You

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, well over 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year.  Dental health care professionals are often the first ones to see the disease. Here’s how oral cancer screenings by our office could save your life.

Frequent flyers

When you come in for routine visits, we are going to check you carefully for lumps, bumps and abnormalities in and around your mouth.   Many times, our patients see us more often than their “regular” doctor.  Since oral cancers are rarely painful or bothersome at first, a medical doctor could easily miss early symptoms.  That’s where we come in because our staff are all trained to notice subtle changes and get our patients a proper diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

The Usual Suspects

The tongue, lips and floor of the mouth are most likely to develop cancer so we tend to hone in one these areas the most.  We are looking for changes in texture, shape, and color but we don’t stop there.  Your entire face, eyes, nose and ears, back of the neck and even your voice can give us clues when something isn’t quite right.  Using our sense of sight, hearing and touch, we check everything over to make sure you get a thorough examination.  Now, this may sound like a time consuming event, but it usually takes five minutes or less.

Coaches for Change

Any person with a history of tobacco and/or alcohol use has a much higher risk of developing an oral, head or neck cancer. In fact, a whopping 75 percent of head and neck cancers are directly related to alcohol and tobacco use.  Even though cigarette smoking has been on the decline in recent years, oral cancer incidents are still on the rise due to HPV.  According to John’s Hopkins, other researchers believe that up to 80% of oral cancers in the U.S. are actually due to infection with the HPV virus.  No matter the cause, a very important function of any dental office is providing information and encouragement to patients that need to drop unhealthy habits. In turn, giving us honest and thorough medical histories that include negative habits and medical conditions allows our office to pay special attention to areas in your mouth that are at the greatest risk.  This team approach saves lives.

April was National Cancer Awareness Month but Dr. Daxon takes pride in their ongoing strategies and patient centered protocols.  Early detection is key to surviving this type of cancer.  Your role in prevention and early detection is simply coming in for routine examinations.  Let us do the rest!

For more information on oral cancer and how you can be proactive, click on the link below: