Time for Your Oral Cancer Screening

When any of our patients visit Smiles Dental for a routine dental exam, Dr. Parry conducts an oral cancer screening. His goal is to detect any abnormalities or worrisome conditions as early as possible. If Dr. Parry identifies any signs of oral cancer during your exam, Smiles Dental will help you get the treatment you require.

Oral cancer can refer to cancer of the hard and soft palate, lips, tongue, cheeks, throat, floor of the mouth or sinuses. More often than not, oral cancer can be treated successfully as long as it has been detected early enough; unfortunately, the majority of oral cancer cases aren’t detected until they have progressed to an advanced stage, making treatment in such instances much more difficult.

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) has reported that approximately 43,250 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2015.

Some people disregard this threat if they don’t smoke or use tobacco, since those behaviors are well known major risk factors for developing oral cancer. But surprisingly, the OCF reports that the fastest growing subset of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, non-smoking individuals who develop oral cancer as a result of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Remember, your dentist is your first line of defense against oral cancer.

The most significant risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use, alcohol consumption, HPV infection, age (the risk is greater after age 44), gender (men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer), ultraviolet light exposure and nutrition (individuals whose diets are rich in vegetables and fruits have a lower incidence of oral and pharyngeal cancer).

A few of the signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer are lumps or a thickening of the oral soft tissues, swelling that affects the comfort and fit of dentures, difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty with moving the jaw or tongue, a sore throat or a sensation that something is caught in the throat, numbness, hoarseness or a change in the voice.

The American Dental Association reports that an estimated 1 in 92 adults will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in their lifetime. And the OCF states that every day 100 new people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and that one person dies from it every hour.

So, if it’s been a while since you and your family members have visited the dentist, come and see us by calling 541.497.7970 to schedule an appointment.