If you knew there was a disease that killed one American every hour of every day, 365 days of the year, you’d probably want to do everything possible to avoid it. Those statistics are all too true with oral cancer — but the good news is that getting a routine screening from your dentist in Copperas Cove can greatly aid in successful treatment. April is Oral Cancer Month, so we are taking this opportunity to talk about this all-too-common disease! Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is that which affects the hard or soft tissues of the mouth, throat, or cheeks. Estimates say that nearly 50,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year. The majority of oral cancer cases are in older patients (over the age of 55), but it has recently started to affect more younger and healthier people due to the rise in human papillomavirus (HPV). Young men are at an especially high risk of developing HPV-related oral cancer.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
Getting an oral cancer screening every year can help to ensure the disease is caught early if it does develop. On your own, you should take note of any changes in your oral tissues to ensure you get treatment right away. Some of the most common indicators of oral cancer include:
- A lesion that does not heal
- Red, pink, or white areas of discoloration
- Asymmetries of the face
- Lumps or bumps in the soft oral tissue
- Feeling like something is caught in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
What to Expect during an Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a routine examination that can be performed during your six month checkup and cleaning. It will begin with an in-depth discussion — after all, no one knows about the details of your oral health better than you do. We’ll ask if you have noticed anything out of the usual lately, and take careful notes on any observations you have had. Then, a visual and tactile examination of your oral tissues will be completed.
It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to finish an oral cancer screening. If anything suspicious is found, we will provide important advice to ensure you receive the proper follow-up treatment as soon as is necessary. A lesion should be biopsied right away, while we may just ask you to come in after a few weeks for something else.
Have you ever had an oral cancer screening? If the answer is no — or if you have had one before but it’s been awhile since your last — it’s time to visit your dentist! There’s never been a better moment than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Meet the Practice
The team at Benchmark Family Dental offers comprehensive dentistry services from the comfort of a state-of-the-art office. To learn more about oral cancer or to schedule an appointment for a screening during Oral Cancer Awareness Month, you are invited to contact the office by telephone at 254-547-4866.