Every year dental offices stress Oral Cancer awareness in April, for Awareness Month however this is something we all should be getting checked on a regular basis.
We should all know by now that visiting the dentist twice yearly is important to your health, not just your dental health, but your overall health.
One of the essentials of your dental visit is to check your mouth for signs of irregularity and disease, specifically Oral Cancer. Some patients are more prone to getting Oral Cancer and should be especially vigilant about being checked regularly. The items below make you at higher risk:
- Using tobacco, whether it is smoking, chewing dip, or using snuff.
- Regularly drinking a lot of alcohol
- Previous oral cancer history
- Excessive sun exposure
- Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Chewing a smokeless tobacco mixture
- Age- over 40 with an average of 63.
- Risk rate for men is 1 in 60, women is 1 in 140
During the course of your dental visit, your dentist will thoroughly look at your lips (inside and out), your gums, your tongue from all angles, the inside of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat. They may probe certain areas with their fingers to check for lumps and even feel under your jaw. It should take 5 minutes or so.
If needed, there are more in-depth screening tests such as use of dye as unusual cells absorb it.
Approximately 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. The survival rate after 5 years is 57%, so the sooner you are diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of recovery are.
If you have any of the below symptoms, do not wait until your next regular visit to bring it to your dentist’s attention. This type of cancer can spread quickly.
- An irritation, sore, lump, or thick patch on your mouth, lip, or throat
- White or red patches in your mouth
- A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue.
- Swelling of your jaw which causes a change in fit of dentures.
- Numbness of your tongue or other areas of your mouth
- Ear pain
The staging of this type of cancer is the TNM system, which is based on key pieces of information:
T- how extensive is the tumor?
N- has it spread to the lymph nodes?
M- has it metastasized?
Numbers or letters are assigned to each category to describe the stage i.e., size or spread.
Cell type, location, blood levels, age and test results all factor into assigning an overall stage. Your stage will affect your survival rate.
Concern yourself now with what you can do to prevent cancer in your future.
For every $1.00 spent on prevention in oral care, you can save $8-$50 on restorative and emergency procedures. More importantly, you can save your own life.
Give us a call and allow us to help the toothy grins in your family stay beautiful and healthy.
One Stop DENTAL
875 Poole Avenue
Hazlet, NJ 07730