Why Are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
Oral cancer is not something that you want to experience in this lifetime, but if you are unlucky enough to be diagnosed, the earlier, the better. If you can get a diagnosis while it is still in the early stages, your percentage of survival increases exponentially. It’s important to understand that oral cancer is diagnosed in over 45,000 adults in the US every year, but under half of them are going to make it past five more years. If it gets caught early enough though, this doesn’t have to be the case as the cancer will be far more susceptible to treatment than in the later stages.
Oral cancer screenings in Elizabeth, Colorado should be undertaken on a regular basis by all adults. If you are over 20 years of age, you should be aiming to have an oral cancer screening every three years. If you are over 40, then you should be aiming for one annually as you are at increased risk the older you get. Some of the other risk factors include:
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Tobacco use
- Significant and prolonged exposure to sunlight
- A history of oral cancer
- Unhealthy diet
If any of these apply to you, then get in touch and we will book you in for an appointment to come and talk to us. We will offer you an oral cancer screening if this is your initial visit, and then can work out a plan from there.
It’s also important to note that men are more likely to get oral cancer than women, so you may want to get checked out more frequently if you are male and any of these other risk factors apply to you.
It’s not just dentists that can do their bit to check for oral cancer though. While we have the equipment to diagnose this condition before it would be visible to the naked eye, there are some things that you can do. For example, once per month you should look inside your mouth and see if there is anything different. This could be little white patches, it could be sores, boils or a number of other things. If you notice something isn’t quite normal in your mouth, then speak to your dentist.
When you go for a routine visit to the dentist, they will more than likely conduct a visual exam in which they check for the signs of cancer. However, there are technologies that are available to check further if the dentist feels necessary. The whole procedure only takes around 2-3 minutes, so don’t worry about having to spend more time than necessary at the dentist. At the end of the day though, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and if a dentist offers you an oral cancer screening, it’s best for you that you take it. You can’t possibly know that you don’t have oral cancer unless you have the screening, and if you do, the early detection just increases your chances of surviving, or being cured completely.