You don’t want oral cancer. You do want to be as healthy as possible for years and decades to come. These are good reasons to make regular visits to Blankenship Family Dentistry.
At our practice in Stone Mountain, GA, we conduct oral cancer screenings as a routine part of our general dentistry. We also have the tools to perform brush biopsies if we notice suspicious changes to the tissue of your mouth.
Early detection is invaluable when it comes to the success of oral cancer treatment. We hope you never have this disease, but we would prefer to identify it early if you do.
If you haven’t had an oral cancer screening, please call 770-766-8995 to make an appointment with us soon.
Watch For The Signs
If we notice anything suspicious, we will let you know. However, you also should be aware of the signs of oral cancer:
- Mouth sores that don’t heal after weeks
- Patches of red or white soft tissues
- Lumps in the mouth or neck
- A chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Problems speaking, eating, and swallowing
- Numbness in the lips, mouth, or neck
If you notice these symptoms, it’s worth contacting your doctor. When it comes to cancer, it’s much better to find out that it’s nothing than it is to ignore something.
With oral cancer, early detection makes a big difference. The five-year survival rate for patients who’s mouth or throat cancer is found early is between 80 and 90 percent. When these cancers are found in the late stages, the five-year survival rate drops to 57 percent.
On a typical day in the United States, more than 130 learn that they have some form of oral cancer, The Oral Cancer Foundation reports. In 90 percent of those cases, one or more causes can be identified.
Tobacco use is far and away the most common contributing factor to oral cancer (as well as many other kinds of cancer). Cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco product all contain cancer-causing chemicals. On the low end, health experts estimate that 75 percent of new oral cancer patients have a history of tobacco use.
Combining tobacco and alcohol is worse. Alcohol can dry out the soft tissue in your mouth. This makes them more likely to absorb the chemical in tobacco products. At the same time, heavy drinking (defined as 21 or more drinks per week) is also a known risk factor for oral cancer.
The final risk factor has been on the rise in recent years. HPV-16 (a type of human papillomavirus) can lead to oral cancer in about 1 percent of the population. There is a vaccine that can protect against this virus. It’s recommended for kids around 12 years old. It can be given to some teens and adults as well. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about this.
Let Us Help
Getting an oral cancer screening is as easy as visiting our Stone Mountain, GA dental office. To plan your visit to Blankenship Family Dentistry, start by contacting us online or by calling 770-766-8995.