Oral Cancer Screenings
When it comes to oral cancer, the facts are sobering. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, thousands of new diagnoses are made each year, and thousands more will die from it. In fact, oral cancer claims roughly one life every hour, putting it ahead of cervical cancer, skin cancer, and many other very serious conditions. Why is oral cancer so deadly? Not because it’s difficult to diagnose, but because so many cases aren’t discovered until the cancer is already well-developed.
All of this explains why oral cancer screenings are an essential part of the care we provide at Distinctive Dentistry. If one of our patients is struggling with this very serious health issue, we want to diagnosis it as early as possible. If oral cancer is discovered at an early stage of development, then patients have an increased likelihood of recovering. And with the advanced tools available to dentists today, it’s never been easier to make an early diagnosis.
The next time you come to Distinctive Dentistry for your next checkup, Dr. Bickford or Dr. Shirley will complete a thorough oral cancer screening as part of your visit. What are we looking for? Anything that resembles a flat, painless sore that’s white or red. Other signs of oral cancer can include:
- A bleeding sore that doesn’t heal easily
- A change in the color of your oral tissues
- A rough or crusty spot, or a small eroded area
- Any area where you may be experiencing pain, tenderness or numbness
There are certain risk factors associated with oral cancer, most prominently tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Other common factors include constant exposure to sunlight, habitual cheek or lip biting, and dentures that don’t fit properly.
But while these are the leading risk factors, a rising number—up to 25 percent—of new cases in both women and men has a surprising cause: the Human papillomavirus, or HPV as it is better known. Young patients engaging in oral sex are particularly vulnerable to HPV-related oral cancer.
If you have questions about how oral cancer forms, is diagnosed, or how it’s treated, don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re always happy to answer our patients’ questions as we help them enjoy better oral and overall health. Call today to find out more or to schedule an appointment. Our office serves Dallas, Hiram, and surrounding areas including Douglasville, Rockmart, Powder Springs, Acworth, Villa Rica, Temple, Marietta, and Kennesaw.