Oral cancer rates are on the rise in the United States and around the world. That means the need for routine screenings is higher than ever, as more young and otherwise healthy patients are being diagnosed with oral cancer every day. Have you and your loved ones had an oral cancer screening lately? If the answer is no — or never — then your dentist in Marietta recommends getting one this month. Keep reading to find out why.
About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is that which affects the hard or soft tissues in and/or around the oral cavity, including the throat, tongue, cheeks, and lips. Estimates say that one person dies from oral cancer per hour in the US, and that nearly 50,000 patients are diagnosed with the disease each year. Getting routine screenings for oral cancer can dramatically help to improve survival rates following and oral cancer diagnosis.
Who Should Get Routine Screenings?
All adult patients should receive an oral cancer screening at least annually. While oral cancer has historically been linked to cigarette and tobacco use, the average age of diagnosis is lowering due to the rise in the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is estimated that 80% of sexually active people will be exposed to HPV throughout their lifetimes — which in turn increases the risk of developing oral cancer, especially for adult males. This is why adults of all ages are recommended to get annual oral cancer screenings.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
The oral cancer screening is a simple procedure that can typically be completed within a matter of minutes at the end of a regular checkup and cleaning. To begin, the team will ask you a list of questions related to your oral health to determine whether or not you have noticed any changes lately. If so, they can be examined further during the screening.
After this discussion is complete, we will perform a visual and tactile examination of your mouth and the surrounding oral structures. Some of the things we are looking out for include…
- Lesions that recur or have not healed after several days
- Lumps or bumps in the soft or hard oral tissues
- Rough patches or areas of discoloration
- Asymmetry of the face or mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Change in the tone of voice
Once the screening is complete, we will make a specific recommendation on follow-up care as needed. If you have a lesion that has not healed after several days, you may need a biopsy right away. Something less suspicious may just require monitoring. Either way, you can feel confident that you are receiving the most expert advice and recommendations when you partner with Leading Edge Dentistry.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Don’t put off an oral cancer screening if it’s time to have one. Early detection is closely linked to successful treatment — which means getting routine examinations from your dentist in West Cobb could literally save your life. To schedule an appointment at Leading Edge Dentistry, you are invited to contact us today!