What’s even more scary is this statistic: According to the National Cancer Institute, "Each year in the United States, more than 21,000 men and 9,000 women are diagnosed with oral cancer (source: http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/wyntk-oral.pdf)."
Why not get screened for oral (mouth) cancer when possible?
At Blevins Dentistry, we routinely evaluate our patients for oral cancer signs and symptoms during checkup appointments. This is just one more reason why it’s so important to go to your six-month checkup appointments.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate oral cancer
- Difficulty swallowing
- Red and/or white patches/spots anywhere in the mouth
- Mouth sores that bleed easily or that do not heal
- Tenderness, pain, or numbness anywhere on the lips or in the mouth
- A lump or a thickening, rough spot
- Pain while speaking, chewing, swallowing, and/or moving the jaw or tongue
- Loose teeth
- Changes in how your dentures fit
- Changes in your bite
- Persistent sore throat
If you see signs of oral cancer, schedule an appointment with the doctor as soon as possible.
Comprehensive oral cancer screenings at the dentist office
We want you to have a healthy mouth for many years to come. If you’re concerned about oral cancer, speak with Dr. Blevins, especially if you are at risk.
The following are risk factors for oral cancer:
- Smoking cigars, pipes, cigarettes, or other tobacco products
- Using smokeless tobacco
- Excessive sun exposure
- Family history of cancer
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Exposure to the HPV-16 virus
- Being a male over age 50
Even if you don’t identify with any of these risk factors, you can still get oral cancer. Just remember that early diagnosis and treatment is very important for cancer survival.
How do we check for oral cancer?
We will complete a visual exam of your mouth (teeth, lips, and gums) and throat to look for signs of cancer. We will look for any abnormalities.
If we see anything abnormal, we may collect cells from the area of concern by using a simple brush test. The sample will get sent to the laboratory for analysis, and we’ll discuss the results with you when finished.
If you are concerned about oral cancer and you’d like to get screened today, call Blevins Dentistry for an appointment.