The Importance of Early Detection

Oral cancer kills about 8,000 Americans each year. The reason oral cancer is so deadly is because it is often not caught until the advanced stages when it is harder to treat. Some of the early signs of oral cancer are easy to miss, and many patients do not seek treatment until lesions or lumps cause pain or difficulty with oral functioning. At that point, survival rates start to decline. You can rest easy knowing that your dentist at Modern Dental Health perform a meticulous oral cancer screening every six months at your dental checkup, ensuring that abnormal cells are detected at the very earliest stages to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer usually affects the soft tissues inside the mouth, including the cheeks, gums, tongue, and palate. However, it can also strike your lips and throat. Signs of oral cancer include swellings or thickenings in the mouth or the throat, sores that bleed easily or do not heal within a couple of weeks, and white or red patches inside the mouth. You may also feel a lump in the throat, chronic pain, or difficulty chewing or swallowing. Any unusual changes in the way your mouth or throat looks, feels, or functions should be reported to your dentist or your regular physician so that a diagnosis can be made.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

While oral cancer can strike any patient of any age, certain factors put you in a higher risk category. If you are over 40, especially if you are male, you face a greater risk. Other factors include excessive exposure to the sun in childhood, use of tanning beds, use of tobacco products, excessive alcohol consumption, and a family history of oral cancer. Combining alcohol and tobacco use raise your risk even more.

Oral Cancer Screening by a Modern Dental Health Dentist

Your dentist at Modern Dental Health employ the Oral Cancer Screening and Risk Assessment (OCSARA™) protocol to screen every patient during checkups. This standard method of screening is used by medical and dental professionals to carefully check patients for abnormalities. If suspicious tissues are found, your Modern Dental Health dentist will perform a brush test known as OralCDX™ to collect a sample of cells for testing to determine if they are cancerous or pre-cancerous. Oral cancer has a survival rate of 70% when caught early, so increase your chances of a positive outcome by scheduling a checkup and oral cancer screening today.

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