We are shedding a light on this life-threatening form of cancer.
We don’t often talk about oral cancer as much as we do other types of cancer; however, it doesn’t make this form of cancer any less dangerous. What makes it so dangerous is that oral cancer usually isn’t detected during the early stages when it’s highly curable. Luckily, our Marietta, GA, dentist Dr. D. Casey Hart offers a simple test that could pinpoint the early signs and symptoms of oral cancer before it has a chance to get worse.
What are the warnings signs of oral cancer?
Sometimes oral cancer won’t cause symptoms, especially during the early stages; however, some people may notice these signs and symptoms,
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Ulcers or sores that don’t heal
- Pain or tenderness anywhere in the mouth
- A lump or sore in the throat, lips or mouth
While these are symptoms of oral cancer it is important to recognize that having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. There are other conditions that can also cause similar symptoms; however, if you do notice any changes to your gums or oral tissue it’s best to schedule an evaluation with our Marietta family dentist.
What is involved in an oral cancer screening?
This screening is non-invasive and fast, only taking a couple of minutes to perform. In most cases, our dentist will perform this screening during your six-month cleaning (another reason why you shouldn’t skip out on these routine dental checkups). This screening involves examining and inspecting all tissue within the mouth, including the lips and tongue, to look for any changes or warning signs.
Are there risk factors for oral cancer?
There are certain factors that can increase your risk for oral cancer. These risk factors include,
- Heavy alcohol consumption or alcohol misuse
- Tobacco use
- Age: The risk for oral cancer increases with age
- HPV infection: Some strains of this sexually transmitted disease can cause oral cancer
- A history of sun exposure: this includes working outdoors
- Sex: Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women
If you haven’t kept up with your routine dental cleanings and checkups it’s never too late to start. Call our Marietta, GA, practice today at (770) 926-8371 to schedule your next prophylactic cleaning and oral cancer screening. Taking these simple measures now could greatly improve your health.