Early Screening for Oral Cancer Can Save Your Life
Oral cancer affects nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. alone. Despite the fact that it affects the throat, mouth, and tongue, this disease is not only deadly, but also debilitating. All cancers are the result of an irregular overgrowth of cells. Regular visits to the dentist can help with early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the disease.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Oral cancer is characterized by thickened skin around the mouth, tongue, and gums. Additionally, unknown bleeding, numbness, loss of feeling, and difficulty chewing or swallowing are also symptoms of the disease.
It’s important that you pay attention to what is normal for your mouth and get to the dentist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Who can get oral cancer?
Oral cancer is most common in men aged 50 and older. In fact, men are two times more likely to develop the disease than women. There are additional risk factors that play a role in whether someone develops oral cancer or not.
Those who smoke or chew tobacco, as well as those who drink excessive alcohol are more likely to get oral cancer. Users of dip and chewing tobacco are an astounding 50 times more likely to develop this cancer. Additional risk factors include people with HPV and excessive sun exposure.
What is the survival rate for those who have oral cancer?
81% of patients with oral cancer tend to survive the first year, however, the survival rate dips to 56% of patients over the course of five years and 41% over the course of ten years. This is why it is so important that you pay attention to the warning signs and regularly visit your dentist for check ups.
How is oral cancer treated?
Treatment of oral cancer will depend on its exact location, as well as how advanced it is. Many times the cancerous growth is removed and a course of chemotherapy and radiation are started to kill any remaining cancer cells.
How can I prevent oral cancer?
Oral cancer can be prevented by avoiding high-risk behaviors like chewing tobacco, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting regular check ups. It’s recommended that patients over 20 be screened every three years and patients over 40 be screened every year. As long as you’re visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings, then it’s likely you’re being checked for any abnormal growths.
An oral cancer exam is more than a visual inspection. It includes a physical exam of your tongue, the floor of your mouth, and even your throat, as these are all areas commonly affected by oral cancer.
If you’re in need of an oral cancer screening, contact our office. Dr. Planes is experienced in prevention of oral cancer, as well as guiding patients toward the best direction for their unique needs. Whether you’re new to the concept of regular exams or are looking for a new dentist, we’re committed to providing you with a comfortable and enjoyable experience that works for you..