April 5, 2019
When people talk about Oral Cancer Awareness Month, why is it always tied with going to your dentist? Shouldn’t you be seeing a general practitioner or oncologist for that? When it comes to oral cancer, your dentist is trained and equipped to look for any signs and symptoms that may be causes for concern. As it occurs in the mouth or throat, who better than a dental professional to diagnose and treat such a disease? Let’s take a look at why it’s important to receive an oral cancer screening in Falls Church, the symptoms, and the step-by-step examination process.
Why Is It So Important to Be Screened?
Here are a few statistics to help you understand the seriousness that is oral cancer:
- Each year, an estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer.
- On average, the disease claims the lives of 9,500 people.
- Of those who are diagnosed with oral cancer, only 50% will live for more than five years.
- Early detection through an oral cancer screening could have prevented many of the deaths.
When dealing with this deadly disease, you want a professional who can not only diagnose but treat the cancer, which is why it’s important to see your dentist for regularly scheduled dental appointments. Oral cancer screenings can detect early cancer or pre-cancer and potentially save your life. If detected early, the chances of successful treatment are higher. Whereas, once the cancer has advanced or spread, the chances of a survival worsen.
What Are the Symptoms?
Want to know what to look for when it comes to oral cancer? While not all symptoms live on the surface of the mouth or are knowingly visible to the average person, some are easy to detect, such as:
- Sore throat
- Oral sores that don’t heal
- Spots within your mouth that are numb when touched
- Red or white patches or lesions
- A lump or hard spot in the soft tissue
- An earache that has no infection
- Poorly fitting dentures
How Is a Screening Performed?
If you’re concerned about an oral cancer screening taking a long time or worse, being painful, you’re in luck. When visiting your dentist, you may not even realize the screening is taking place! Your dental professional will visually check your mouth, tongue, lips, and cheeks. In addition, the underside of your tongue and its sides, as well as the back of your throat will be examined to determine if there are any signs of cancer. Before it’s completed, your dentist will check your jaw and neck for swelling.
We know cancer is scary, but don’t let it stop you from being screened. Not only will it give you and your dentist peace of mind in knowing your oral health is in check, but it can also save your life.
About the Practice
At Tysons Dental Esthetics, we know the importance of preventative dentistry and oral cancer screenings. Not only is it quickly and easily performed during a regular dental checkup, but it’s much easier to treat if detected early. Our team of dental experts want to keep your oral and overall health in check, and that means caring for your teeth, gums, and mouth on a regular basis. If you have any questions about screenings or preventative care, visit our website or call (703) 821-8111.
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