Close to 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. The disease kills roughly one person every hour, 24 hours a day. These are shocking statistics, but do you know what else? When caught early, oral cancer is much easier to treat. That’s why Dr. Philip, your dentist in Sunnyvale, TX, recommends regular oral cancer screenings. He knows that with oral cancer and so many other things, early detection truly is key.
Regular Oral Cancer Screenings Can Save Your Life
The Oral Cancer Foundation tells us that historically, the death rate associated with oral cancer is high simply because the cancer is often caught so late in its development.
Oral cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity: the lips, cheeks, gums, front part of your tongue, underneath the tongue and the hard part that is the roof of your mouth. Pharyngeal cancer affects the throat, and is also identified in an oral cancer screening.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
The American Dental Association identifies the following risk factors as closely linked with incidence of oral cancer.
- Tobacco use or alcohol consumption, especially when heavily used together
- HPV infection
- Age (risk increases past age 44)
- Gender (men are twice as likely to develop the disease)
- Ultraviolet light exposure
- Poor nutrition — a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help reduce the occurrence of oral cancer
Oral Cancer Screenings: Easy, Routine, Vital
A screening means looking for cancer before a person exhibits any symptoms, and your dentist, Dr. George T. Philip, is who you should trust to check your mouth for the early warning signs of oral cancer.
The screening is a quick process that can be performed in the same visit as your regular dental cleaning. In fact, it could take as little as five minutes. During the screening, Dr. Philip examines your mouth for certain warning signs of the disease; here’s a very thorough description of what happens at each stage of the screening.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
During the exam, Dr. Philip will ask about and look for any of these warning signs of oral cancer.
- Irregularities in the mouth, such as bumps, rough spots, swellings or erosions
- White, red or speckled patches in the mouth
- Unexplained tenderness in the mouth
- Numbness in the face, neck or mouth
- Persistent, bleeding sores on the face, neck or mouth
- Sore throat
- Difficulty with normal jaw function: chewing, speaking, moving
- Change in voice
- Ear pain
- Noticeable change in the alignment of teeth
- Dramatic weight loss
Remember that early discovery of oral cancer makes treatment far easier, and a screening can be completed in the very same appointment as your regular dental exam — you just have to ask.
Request Your Appointment Today
If you’d like to have an oral cancer screening with Dr. Philip, your dentist in Sunnyvale, TX, please don’t wait. Request your appointment today.