Like all cancer screenings, the one for oral cancer is designed to detect suspicious looking tissue that may indicate the presence of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. The difference between an oral cancer screening and others—think mammogram or MRI—is that this one takes no extra time or effort on your part. All you have to do is maintain a schedule of regular dental checkups with your dentist in North Valleys. We take care of the rest. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so take the time to make sure you’ll be around for many more years to come!
Oral Cancer Statistics
The numbers associated with oral cancer in this country are sobering to say the least. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. That means there are about 132 new oral cancer patients every day. Only half of those cases will live more than five years beyond their diagnosis. And sadly, more than 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S. are attributed to oral cancer. That’s about one victim 365/24/7.
Have an Oral Cancer Screening in North Valleys
During a screening for oral cancer, your family dentist in North Valleys is on the lookout for small changes in or on soft tissue in your mouth. These could be an indication of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.
The signs or oral cancer include:
- A sore in your mouth or on your lips that won’t heal and could be bleeding
- A red or white spot that can be either scaly or smooth
- Numbness anywhere in your mouth or on your lips
- A lump in your mouth, along the jaw or down your neck
- Loose teeth or ill-fitting dentures
- An earache but no visible sign of infection
- Trouble swallowing or a persistent sore throat
Are Your at Risk for Oral Cancer?
The truth is that any adult can be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer. However, there are certain behaviors that make the development of this cancer more likely.
First, there is the use of tobacco. Both smoking and chewing tobacco increase the risk for oral cancer. Add too many alcoholic beverages to that and the risk rises even higher.
Many younger people who are otherwise healthy and don’t smoke are the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients because of the link between this disease and HPV infection.
Your family dentist in North Valleys could be the health care provider to save your life thanks to a screening for oral cancer. Whether you have a risk factor or not, schedule a dental checkup today that includes an oral cancer screening.
About the Author
Dr. Josh Branco earned his dental degree from Boston University’s dental school and completed his post gradual General Practice Residency at UNR School of Medicine. His passion has always been to help patients find the best treatment available and improve their quality of life, so you can feel safe and confident having your professional care in his hands. To learn more about his preventive treatments and practice, contact him at (775) 204-1908 or visit his website.