Oral cancers are on the rise throughout the US and around the world, but awareness of the disease that kills one American per hour remains critically low. Many adults have never had an oral cancer screening. Have you? If the answer is no, or if you have but it’s been a while, Dr. James A. Merriman, your dentist in Marietta, GA, recommends scheduling a screening today. Find out why below.
WHAT CAUSES ORAL CANCER?
Oral cancer is that of the lips, cheeks, tongue, soft or hard palate, or neck. Oral cancer has historically been linked to age as well as alcohol and tobacco use. But with the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV), oral cancer is affecting otherwise healthy patients at a younger age more than ever. People who have a family history of cancer or who have had lots of exposure to UV light are also at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. The risk is slightly elevated for men.
WARNING SIGNS OF ORAL CANCER
Oral cancer may remain undetected for years. Educating yourself on the warning signs of oral cancer can help you seek a diagnosis and treatment early.
Signs that can indicate cancer or precancer include…
- Lesions that do not heal after two weeks
- Lumps or bumps in the soft oral tissue
- Rough or discolored patches in the mouth
- Asymmetry of the face
- Difficulty swallowing or a strange sensation in the throat
- Persistent sore throat
- Change in the tone of voice
IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DETECTION FOR ORAL CANCER
Early detection of any disease is important for successful treatment, and 5-year survival rates of oral cancer greatly improve when it is caught in the beginning stages. Regular screenings increase the chances of early detection for improved outcomes.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING?
You don’t have to do anything special to prepare for an oral cancer screening. It is performed at the end of your regular checkup and cleaning at our Marietta dental practice. When you come into Dr. Merriman’s office for an oral cancer screening, we will begin by discussing your oral health. Have you noticed anything different lately? Any changes that don’t seem quite right, or bumps/lumps that won’t go away? Dr. Merriman and your hygienist will examine your facial tissue and inside your mouth visually and tactilely to find any areas that could indicate trouble.
If your dentist does locate a suspicious area, we will provide advice to help you get the follow-up treatment you need as soon as possible. Lesions should be biopsied right away. For a lump or a bump, we may plan a time for you to come back in a few weeks to see if it has changed or gone away.
Posted on behalf of Envision Dental
130 Vann Street NE Ste #210
Marietta, GA 30060
Phone: (770) 425-0448Mon - Thur 8AM - 5PM