No one wants to hear that they have cancer. No matter what type, the moment the word is uttered, negative thoughts fill the mind even if only for a moment. What’s worse is that you begin to wonder, “Could I have done something to have caught this earlier?” While not all situations are the same, when it comes to oral cancer, you can take a proactive approach. Let your dentist in Lutz discuss why it’s important to have an oral cancer screening and what symptoms you should be looking for at home.
Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
Until you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you don’t really know what kind of questions you’d be asking yourself or the doctor. Maybe you’d ask, “Why me?” “What now?” “What could I have done to prevent this?” These questions are ones your dentist never wants you to have to ask yourself, which is why oral cancer screenings are so important.
If caught in its early stages, oral cancer has a high chance of successful treatment. In 84% of the cases, a dental health professional can detect oral cancer.
What Are the Symptoms?
Many times, oral cancer can go undetected, and when patients forgo their regularly scheduled dental appointments, the likeliness of catching cancer early on decreases. You may be at risk if:
- You smoke or use tobacco
- You maintain an unhealthy diet
- You consume large amounts of alcohol
- You’ve contracted Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- You are a man over 40 (Women are less at risk, as well as people under the age of 40)
Whether or not any of the risk factors listed above apply to you, some of the symptoms associated with oral cancer include:
- Biting that results in numbness or pain
- Spots in your mouth that appear and are unable to heal or continually bleed
- Red or white patches, or a lump in your mouth
What is Included in My Dental Evaluation?
When visiting your dentist, you will receive a complete evaluation, including an oral cancer screening, periodontal assessment, bite analysis, and a tooth-by-tooth laser scan. If signs of cancer are detected, you and your dentist can discuss proper treatment options to prevent further progression of the disease.
Learning you have oral cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Visiting your dentist for your six-month checkup is the first step in being proactive about your oral health. Receiving an oral cancer screening takes just minutes and can save your life. Why wait? If you are experiencing any the symptoms listed, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Jay A. Nelson, DMD, PA, earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Rutgers University and his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Committed to life-long learning, he participates in professional development and continuing education opportunities. He and his team of experts will ensure you receive quality, thorough care, all in a warm and welcoming environment. To learn more about Dr. Nelson, visit our website or call (813) 949-0424.