Oral Cancer Screenings are incorporated in your dental check-up
Oral cancer, commonly called mouth cancer, occurs inside the mouth and can involve the lips, gums, tongue, the lining of the cheeks, and roof or floor of the mouth. Those at risk for developing some form of mouth cancer include:
- Tobacco use—cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff and chewing tobacco
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Significant sun exposure (increase of lip cancer)
- Exposure to HPV—the human papillomavirus
Do you have suspicious oral symptoms?
It is very important to be in tune with our body and pay attention to any new unusual sensations in your mouth.
Some signs that there might be a problem in your mouth or throat include—sores that don’t heal; a noticeable lump or ‘thickening’ of the mucous membrane; visible white or red patches on the soft tissue; pain chewing and swallowing; painful tongue, throat or jaw; loose teeth or poorly fitting dentures.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should inform your dentist about it during your regular dental check-up.
Oral screening is quick and painless
The dentist will begin by completing a visual examination of the mouth and throat to check for abnormal changes in the mucous membranes. The dentist may feel the soft tissue to ensure there are no noticeable lumps in an affected area.
This quick painless screening is just the first step in managing any abnormality you are concerned about in your mouth. If you are at risk of developing some form of oral cancer be sure to visit your family doctor for regular medical check-ups and ask about ways that you can help reduce the risk.
Prevention is key
The good news is that the oral cancer is a highly preventable disease and very treatable if caught early. A routine dental check-up every 6 months will increase greatly the chances of an early detection of oral cancer.
Here are some tips for preventing the disease:
- Don’t use tobacco in any form. If you use tobacco, quit.
- Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man
- Stay out of the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when sunlight is strongest
- Always use lip balm with SPF 30 or higher
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetable