Did you know that oral cancer is considered to be the sixth most common form of cancer in the world? According to recent reports, oral cancer is diagnosed in 53,000 Americans every year, with roughly 10,000 people dying as a result. What’s the most common reason people die of oral cancer? The fact that in a majority of cases, the condition is caught in the late stages. In late-stage development, the 5-year survival rate drops as low as 34 percent.
To learn more about the condition and why you should get an oral cancer screening in Medford today, keep reading!
Why Dentists are Uniquely Capable of Catching Oral Cancer
Most people who see their doctor regularly do so once a year. This is usually done for their physical, which covers many areas of the human body. However, dentists recommend that you visit them once every six months in order to ensure that your oral care routine is working to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Because of this higher visitation rate, dentists are in a unique position to catch certain conditions more often than professionals you may only see once a year.
Furthermore, dentists are trained specifically to catch the signs of oral cancer just as much as the early signs of tooth decay and gum disease. When you visit regularly, your risk automatically goes down since you’re taking the necessary steps to catch symptoms before they have a chance to do damage.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
There are many signs to look out for when it comes to oral cancer. Having a medical professional examine your mouth and throat is the best way to confirm the presence of oral cancer, but it’s always best to perform monthly self-exams as well. While closely examining your throat, mouth, tongue, cheeks, gums and tonsils in the mirror, make sure the room is well-lit. Keep an eye out for the following signs and sensations:
- Red or white patches
- Lumps, bumps and thickenings of tissue
- Sores that do not heal after a two-week long period
- Hoarseness or changes in your voice
- Chronic sore throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
How Can You Practice Prevention?
The best way to confirm the presence of oral cancer is to visit a dentist once every six months for an exam. In most cases, you probably weren’t even aware that the screening was happening, but dentists regularly perform the exam as part of your prevention.
In between your dental visits, it’s important to always commit to the following habits in order to reduce your risk. They include:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
- Flossing daily
- Keeping a balanced diet complete with fruits and vegetables
- Using sunscreen and lip balm when going outside
Have you had your oral cancer screening performed by a dentist in Medford yet? Schedule an appointment today to ensure no underlying problems are present!
About Premier Care Dental
The dentists at Premier Care Dental make prevention a very high priority. Whether it’s catching the early signs of oral cancer or another disease related to oral and overall health, the dentists are here to help. To learn more about their practice, you can contact them via their website.