Did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Although many associate this disease with those who smoke or drink alcohol heavily, oral cancer affects more than just them. About 10 percent of oral cancer patients have no known cause at all. Oral cancer claims one life every hour every day in the United States. It deserves more attention in order to save more lives. About 53,000 people are estimated to newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019, but only 57 percent of them are likely to still be alive five years from now. What can you do about it? If you haven’t seen your dentist in a while, now is the time to make an appointment so that you can make sure you have a clean bill of health when it comes to oral cancer.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer has many ways of manifesting itself, including the following:
- Sores on the lips or in the mouth that don’t heal after two weeks.
- Red or white tissue.
- Difficulty swallowing or moving your tongue or jaw.
- Numbness in the tongue.
- Lumps or hard thickening of tissue.
Although these symptoms are fairly straightforward, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to recognize them, especially if you’re trying to check yourself. That’s why it is important to have a dental expert perform an oral cancer screening on a regular basis.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
Most of the time, oral cancer is diagnosed and treated during later stages of development. At that point, treatment unfortunately often offers too little help to overcome the disease. However, for those patients whose oral cancer is discovered and addressed early, the survival rate jumps up to 90 percent. By visiting your dentist for your six-month checkup and cleaning appointment, you increase the likelihood of finding oral cancer before it spreads and becomes more difficult to treat.
Oral Cancer Screening Process
Unlike screenings for many other cancers, an oral cancer screening is quick and painless. And what’s more, you don’t have to take any extra time out of your busy schedule to have one done. It’s already built into your semiannual checkup with your dentist. In fact, you might have had an oral cancer screening before without even knowing it! Your dentist visually inspects the inside of your mouth, focusing on the tongue, gums, and hard and soft tissues, particularly in the back. Then, they gently feel around your jaw, neck, and throat. If they detect anything suspicious, they will refer you to a doctor for additional testing.
In the end, an oral cancer screening just takes a couple of minutes to complete. It’s well worth this small amount of time to make sure that you’re oral cancer free or, on the other hand, to get an early diagnosis for more effective treatment. That way, you can enjoy many more years of a healthy, happy life ahead. Contact your dentist for an appointment today!
About the Practice
At Complete Cosmetic Care Dentistry, husband-and-wife team Dr. Parnam Mohanna and Dr. Dalia Georgy have complimentary skills to provide comprehensive dental care for patients in the Glenpool area. Dr. Mohanna has had advanced training in dental implants, oral sedation, wisdom tooth extractions and general extractions, root canal therapy, and courses with the Dawson Academy and the Las Vegas Institute, and Dr. Georgy specializes in orthodontics, Invisalign, sedation dentistry, and mini-implant surgery. To make an appointment with them, call (918) 216-1000 or click here.