Oral cancer has one of the highest death rates of all cancers, largely due to the lack of awareness surrounding the disease. Many adults have never undergone a screening for oral cancer. Have you had an oral cancer screening in Bloomfield, CT? If not, it’s time -- especially if you exhibit one or more risk factors for the disease. Keep reading to learn more about oral cancer from the doctors at Family Dental Practice of Bloomfield.
It’s recommended that all adults over the age of 55 have an oral cancer screening performed at least once a year. People who have one or more of the risk factors of the disease should be especially careful not to skip the screening, and may benefit from more frequent examinations.
Signs you may be at an increased risk for developing oral cancer include...
- Age (two-thirds of people with the disease are over the age of 55)
- Tobacco use
- Heavy drinking, especially when combined with smoking
- Extended exposure to UV light
- Family history of oral cancer
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Gender (men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer)
Let your dentist in Bloomfield, CT know if you have one or more risk factors from oral cancer.
The oral cancer screening is a quick examination that is performed alongside your regular dental checkup and cleaning. At Family Dental Practice of Bloomfield, we make a point to perform an oral cancer screening at the end of every six month preventive appointment. Early detection is crucial in the successful treatment of oral cancer.
What happens during the oral cancer screening? You will begin by answering a series of questions about your oral and overall health. Have you noticed any significant changes in your mouth lately? Or a change in the tone of your voice? You are the expert in your own health, so every oral cancer screening begins with a conversation about what you have experienced.
Next, the visual and tactile portion of the oral cancer screening begins. Your dentist examines your facial structure, including the symmetry of your face. Your mouth is also checked for the irregularities that indicate oral cancer. These include:
- Bumps that persist for longer than two weeks
- Rough or sore patches in the mouth
- Areas of discoloration
- Lumps in the throat, mouth, or neck
- Facial asymmetry
If any suspicious areas are detected during the oral cancer screening, there is no reason to panic -- it just means further examination is needed. We can recommend an excellent local oral surgeon to perform a biopsy if necessary.
Many dental practices only perform an oral cancer screening as an extra service when you request it. But at Family Dental Practice of Bloomfield, we screen all of our adult patients for oral cancer during the preventive appointment. When was your last checkup and cleaning? If it’s been more than six months, here’s another reason for you to schedule an appointment today -- your oral cancer screening. Doing so could (literally) save your life.