When is the last time you were screened for oral cancer? If it has been a while, or, if you have never been screened, now is the time. Most dentists, including Dr. Justin Scott of Pure Dental Health, offer oral cancer screenings as a part of a comprehensive dental examination. Screening patients for oral cancer every year helps to detect it as soon as possible so that the disease can be caught before it is too late. Early detection of oral cancer facilitates early and aggressive treatment and can lead to better outcomes and survival rates. Early detection is especially important when dealing with oral cancers because the mortality rates for these types of cancers are higher than with other types of cancer. In fact, of the approximately 37,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone, 8,000 will die. Eighteen thousand of these Americans will die within five years of their diagnoses.
In addition to receiving regular oral cancer screenings, it is important to communicate with your dentist or a physician if you notice continued changes in your mouth or throat. This could include swelling, sores (ulcers), numbness, or difficulty swallowing or chewing. However, it is important to note that oral pain does not always occur with oral cancer. This is another reason why it is important to get screened regularly, even if you are not having any symptoms.
Smoking and excessive alcohol use have both been linked to oral cancer. Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation can go a long way in reducing your risks of developing this aggressive and potentially deadly form of cancer. For more information about the risks and symptoms of oral cancer or to schedule an oral cancer screening, schedule an appointment with a qualified dentist today.
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